Kate Hawkesby: How is Jesse Ryder's personal life our business?

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tue, 25 Feb 2020, 11:23AM
Jesse Ryder hasn't played for the Black Caps for six years - can't we leave him alone? (Photo / NZ Herald)

Kate Hawkesby: How is Jesse Ryder's personal life our business?

Author
Kate Hawkesby,
Publish Date
Tue, 25 Feb 2020, 11:23AM

I ummed and ahhed about writing about this because, in doing so, I’m doing exactly what I’m about to complain about.

Why is the fact Jesse Ryder’s been charged with drink driving news?

I feel bad for him. He’s clearly got demons to battle, he obviously has a problem with alcohol; how does us being judge and jury help him one bit? Why do we report it?

He’s not a current Black Cap, he owes us nothing, he’s not representing New Zealand, so why is it news?  Why can’t he be left alone to get on with whatever he needs to get on with, without his private life and private battles being splashed across the front page?

The key word in the headline was ‘former’ Black Cap. He is no more, so why can’t we leave him alone?  Why is what he does of national interest? Are we such a small country that you literally cannot move on with your life without everything you do being documented for years to come?

One of the things that came to light recently, which we are surely getting the message on by now, is in this age of the internet and social media, there’s a lot to be said for just leaving people alone.

For not demonising people and behaviours, and just leaving them be. Not commenting on their lives, not offering up unsolicited advice, not throwing in your two cents worth.  You never know what battle someone may be fighting, or what they’re up against, or what a single comment could do to them.

In this age of instant clicks and comments, we have a responsibility to be better than just basement bullies. Highlighting peoples’ weaknesses and making headlines out of them is not helpful. It’s also not news.

Sure, if you’re a Catholic Priest convicted of paedophilia or a high level New Zealand sports representative, your behaviour and actions will warrant reportage and garner attention.  But if you’re not, why are you still fair game?  I just don’t think you are.

Everybody makes mistakes, some will make them over and over again.  Show me the person who is perfect and without fault? There isn’t one.

So surely we have a duty in this life to do better than dragging people’s mistakes through the spotlight for all to feast on, especially when they didn’t ask for it and they’re not courting any public attention.

I don’t know Jesse Ryder from a bar of soap, but I do know he last played for the Black Caps six years ago. He didn’t ask to be on the front page this week, he should be allowed to get on with his life, away from the spotlight.