April 3, 2018 by Sam Dodge
Photo: Getty Images
Dante’s Inferno. Dante’s Peak. Donte DiVicenzo. The first is a literal descent into hell. The second is a schlock Pierce Brosnan movie about a volcano eruption.
On Monday night, DiVicenzo was the hottest Donte, racking up 31 points In Villanova’s 79-62 victory over Michigan to seize the National Championship.
The conversation, however, is not about whether the redshirt sophomore guard’s clinic last night is the greatest championship game showing in history, or if he should go pro. Through the power of social media, the sports world is now focused on profane tweets he sent as a 14-year old. It’s the media’s job to relay seven-year old tweets to its consumers.
The point is that teenagers say dumb things sometimes. It’s the time when they are interacting with the world and learning what words and actions hurt peers. What’s the media’s purpose in unearthing these tweets?
Congratulations. The world now knows that 14-year olds do stupid things on the internet. Anyone here ever listen to teenagers on Xbox Live? They all find these tweets appalling.
Of course, DiVicenzo, a white man from Delaware, shouldn’t tweet out rap lyrics with the n-word. Of course, he shouldn’t regale stories of women pleasuring his nether regions on social media. And of course, he shouldn’t tweet gay slurs.
It’s really not worth it, since journalists and people in the offending groups are going to make a thing of it. Moreover, it’s ignorant.
Before passing judgement though, everyone has something stupid they wrote or said as a teenager. It can be as benignly embarrassing as charging into a wall wearing a football helmet, or as genuinely offensive as telling a young girl to stay in the kitchen to make a sammich.
Want a USC angle? Do we really need dozens of think pieces on Chimezie Metu’s tweet that derided fans for not attending games? There’s clearly a difference between DiVicenzo’s inflammatory material and Metu’s trolling, but these both should be just periphery issues.
USC junior forward Chimezie Metu defends his decision to sit out the NIT – and then takes a swipe at all the USC hoops fans that somehow didn’t make it to a game this season. Good for him. pic.twitter.com/W9KIF2UHJ4
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) March 14, 2018
Both he and DiVincenzo receive constant praise off the court. The former is an academic all-conference, and the latter is a, “very, very nice kid,” according to, among others, his high school reverend at Salesianum School in Wilmington, Dela.
These tweets are merely reference points. If either continues down the road of immaturity, or in DiVincenzo’s case, bigotry, let’s remember them. Right now, they are not definitive statements worth further investigation.
Parents, teacher and peers alike need to recognize these words and actions as dumb and put them in perspective for the person’s growth. DiVicenzo, presumably, has recognized that what he said was stupid and his black teammates don’t have an issue with it. If a woman or homosexual person has felt victimized by him, your voice will be heard.
Two lessons going forward. One, don’t post profane thoughts on social media. Two, if someone already did so when they were young, judge them for their growth since that post.
Otherwise, we are professionally offended people casting first stones.