Character Talks IA Blog
Monthly posts exploring different character virtues.
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and the helpless and see that they get justice." Proverbs 31:8
As I'm sure, most of you will be tuning into the IAAF World Athletics Championships this week. Whether it be watching your favourite athlete/event or if you’re lucky enough, be part of the action and feel the atmosphere.
Unfortunately, most of you are aware that this will be the last time we see the great Usain Bolt run individually within the 100m. As a nation we expected him to finish on a high, so the end result was nonetheless but surprising...
THIRD? BRONZE? THIRD FASTEST LOSER? USAIN BOLT in one sentence?
It doesn't seem right? But here's why… ‘Justice’.
In my personal opinion Justice represents all that is fair. It’s a sign of respect, balance and more importantly freedom. As stated more than once, Justin Gatlin took performance enhancing drugs back in 2001 and 2006. 11 years later...he's World Champion in the 100m. So why he is still labelled the 'bad guy?' The 'HOW' is not important to me, it's all about the 'WHY'. For years Justin Gatlin has paid the price for the choices he made back in 01 and 06. On arrival to the London stadium, Gatlin faced boo's from the crowd, from heats all the way to the final. Even I was guilty of this. The crowd made it clear they were not favourable of him. I even believe that the result would have been better accepted if Coleman had won, just as long as Gatlin was nowhere near the prize.
Now, in his heart Gatlin probably knew he had something to prove to all of us, but what Gatlin evidently did was far greater. He didn’t use social media as a platform to justify his actions or thoughts. He never made an interview and expressed his anger towards us. He merely left it in the hands of God and focused on what he set out to do and prove a point that him winning will provide justice once and for all. So whether we like it not, respect is given to him on the podium.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Romans 12:19
Let's be clear here. A lot of athletes from all over the world have taken drugs and we can’t be sure if everybody partaking in the games are 100% clean. However as they say ‘innocent until proven guilty’. We have seen Russia banned completely from all athletic meetings across the world due to the mass amount of athletes taking performance enhancing drugs. However, here’s the thing: if an athlete can prove they don't reside or train in Russia they can be cleared to compete for themselves. As you may or may not have noticed those with ‘ANA’ next to their names, meaning Authorised Neutral Athletes. Do we provide them with the same doubt or hatred based on what Russia did as a whole? Do we take into consideration that other athletes such as Yohan Blake and Amantle Months have taken (willingly/unwillingly) drugs and have returned to the sport after completing their time.
Do we ask ourselves what it took for Gatlin to face his decisions and still run to win Gold anyway? Do we know the faith or even the mental state that it took? Most importantly did we as a nation provide an environment of fair justice when he came to compete on our home soil?
Gatlin cried tears when he realised he won and even bowed down to Bolt. Bolt proved to us he is only human. A great human to us but all in all he is HUMAN. What I loved about Bolts reaction is that he picked Gatlin up and embraced him anyway. How would we have looked at Bolt differently if he had turned his back? Why did we provide an atmosphere of injustice when in all fairness he won 'fair and square?’ What bolt showed was JUSTICE was due. He let Gatlin be free.
What Justin did can never be eliminated from history books but it should be forgiven, especially if others are. At the same time we will never know the circumstances back then, whether it was acceptable or not. A lot of us have done things in our life that we are not proud of. How would we feel if we were constantly reminded and most importantly not allowed to do the job we do? I'm pretty sure we would hide away and not want to face the world. But learn this... face your bad choices and LIVE ANYWAY.
If Usain Bolt can look past it and live his life all while forgiving Gatlin, I'm pretty sure we can. At the end of the day it is not up to us who is eligible to compete. We will never know who is actually 'clean' but until proven guilty we should accept what it is anyway.
Justice represent fairness, equal rights, and equality, neutral. We seek justice in so many aspects of life. Black lives matter and most recently Pride being main examples. Whether we all agree or not, eventually we meet in the middle somehow and make it fair. Yet, do we create that atmosphere of justice for all who else seek? Think about it.
“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven" Luke 6:37
My main point here is that, justice comes in all forms. Never underestimate the ways in which justice can be shown.
Keep the peace.
Read more about our Phenomenal Woman Ambassador
Imani is studying a Character Education Masters. She is passionate about giving individuals a space to reflect on their journey through life. On this blog we will explore different character virtues, share life experience and much more.