Dockett’s Jury Duty Tweets Show Complete Lack of Respect

I have previously written about my beliefs relating to athletes as role models (See “Charles Barkley Was Correct” posted on September 23, 2014).  I stand by those comments.  They are not and should not be seen as role models merely because of their athletic prowess.  But that opinion on my part does not mean that athletes get a free pass when they fall short.

Enter Darnell Dockett of the Cardinals into the conversation.  I think the consensus among fans is that the combination of Dockett and Calais Campbell made a formidable duo in menacing opposing quarterbacks when they are both healthy.  Despite the Cardinals’ record of 9-3 at the time of this posting, there is no doubt that Dockett’s prowess and leadership is very much missed this season.  I also must assume that being the competitor he is, it is eating away at Dockett that he can’t be on the field mixing it up with his buddies as the team has risen to the upper echelon of the NFL.

So why am I calling out Mr. Dockett?  Well, it appears that he may have been summoned to comply with a very important obligation of citizenship; that being, jury service.  Few people welcome a jury summons when it arrives in the mail.  I get that.  After all, the person is ordered to take time out of their lives to go to a courthouse that he/she has not been to before.  The prospective juror must then answer a slew of questions relating to his/her beliefs and may then be compelled to sit in judgment of another person.  That is the way jury service is often viewed.  

Truth be told, jury service is more than an obligation, it is an “opportunity of citizenship.”  We live in a country with the best system of justice in the world, even with its flaws.  We place our faith in our fellow citizens to make important judgments about important issues.  We don’t do trials in secrecy and we don’t have members of any elite or powerful group making decisions about guilt or the failure to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  Yes, jury service is an inconvenience or worse, but it also one of the most significant ways in which we can each exercise our rights to citizenship and protect the constitutional rights of us all.

There are two things that may have happened here. Perhaps Mr. Dockett received one of those unwelcomed jury summons sometime over the past weeks and had to appear in an unidentified court this week.  Did he see this to be an opportunity of citizenship?  Apparently not.  Did he see this to be an obligation of citizenship?  Also, no.  Did he show respect to the process?  You be the judge.

The other possibility is that Mr. Dockett was just having some fun and his tweets were all a hoax. He may have been sitting at home on his couch with nothing better to do and decided to make things up about jury service. Either way, Mr. Dockett reportedly sent out a stream of tweets over the course of a number of hours earlier this week.

As I quote them, I note that I have not verified that these tweets actually came from Mr. Dockett. I know very little about Twitter and was not present when the statements were disseminated. So, if someone else named Darnell Dockett made the statements, I apologize to “our” Darnell Dockett.

Here is a sampling:

Hysterical stuff, right?  Nah.  Important discourse on opposing views?  Nope.  Freedom of speech?  Well, I guess so. Acceptance of responsibility that his views may influence his many impressionable Twitter followers?  Absolutely not!

Mr. Dockett, if you were actually engaged in jury, you possibly violated a number of court rules by Tweeting while everyone else was abiding by those rules. Not that this seems to matter to you. If you were just messing with all of us, whether out of boredom or because you were clowning around, maybe you need to find better use of your time.

You have a pulpit.  You can use that to be a comedian but if that is your goal, get better writers.  You can use it to express dissenting opinion but if that is your goal, have something worthy of being said.  You can use it to lead and influence others but if that is your goal, take greater responsibility.  If you elect to use your pulpit to mock or show disrespect, perhaps you should consider exercising your rights under the 5th Amendment and remain silent. 

In any event you have the right to free speech and you exercised that right through your Tweets.  I, too, have the right to free speech and I have just exercised it.