Close Critical Reading

Yen Ying Lee
Kyle Grady
English 125.094
Date 10.1.2013
The Innocent Man
We live in a world where we face challenges everyday. The daily obstacles we face just make us stronger each day to face the real hurdles of life. In the article, it is so clear to me that Dyer has been pushed to extents that have forced him to rise up to the world and take charge of his life. After all, what does not kill you only makes you stronger. In his article, Red Flags, Curtis talks about the life of Dyer, a football celebrity who had achieved high peaks as a rising athlete and delved to the bottom due to false charges and stereotypical racial injustice.
Red Flags as quoted from the article are character concerns that are affiliated with sports players. To my knowledge, I understand that red flags are like warning messages that can cause setbacks in professional sports careers. It is seen that throughout his career, Dyer has received a couple of red flags. Whether or not he deserved any of those warnings is a completely different question. It is also stated in the article that these red flags are not concrete warnings but potential signs. Curtis believes that Dyer deserves another chance as he was falsely portrayed as an offender by the media. When red flags are raised there are no degree of warnings. Red flags in Dyers profile are analogous to switches, on or off, nothing in between. When there is a warning, people tend to avoid the fallen athlete; Dyer got released after failing his drug test. The causes of the red flags are worth more investigations in Dyers behavior than red flags themselves.

He left there, too, amid reports of marijuana use and gun possession. .. He and FitzHill, the schools president, were tweaking Dyers image for a return to college football
(Curtis, 1).

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The sentences soften the condemnation of Dyer using marijuana and his gun possession. Curtis brilliantly chose the word too followed by tweaking, making Dyers misbehaviortrivial and negligible. Too casually addresses that its just an add-on information, which will be good if the readers know. Subsequently, the author polished Dyers image by using the word tweaking. This implicitly implies that Dyers image is originally positive while just a little tuning needs to be done for an even better Dyer brand. Instead, the words again and rebuilding would make the sentences sound completely different. They provoke readers to criticize and also emphasize Dyers second offense in gun possession and rebuilding his image is the only way to improve his reputation. The author tactically emphasizes on Dyers good character as he prefers to look at the glass to be half full.
Dyer is inexperienced and a pat seeker. He enjoys people adoring him. its like youre taking a puppy home. Hes been out, so he just gravitates to you. He just wants to be hugged (Curtis 4). A man who has the traits of a naive little puppy. Curtis masked Dyers image with puppy personality, cute, innocent and vulnerable to the media. This masked personality has provoked the public to defend Dyer from any media attack. After all, he is just a young talented football player in the stage of maturing where extra care and encouragement should be given. Although Dyer has the traits of puppy, he has demonstrated his ability to avoid real trouble.
This just comes to enforce the fact that Dyer is an innocent man by nature and due to circumstances, he had to act such to avoid possible predicaments.

Being raised in Little Rock Christian, Dyer was taken in by random people who were willing to clean and feed him. This gesture of kindness definitely impacted him at that tender age. Growing up in such a situation, Dyer have a soft spot at his heart for he has gone through many hardships of life. Despite all that, he appreciates the love that he was showered with. As an adult, it is obvious that Dyer wants appreciation from his coach and is willing to leave his team when he realizes that he is treated rather inhumanely, Then at the end, what did you do for me? (Curtis 4). This just shows that someone who has so much compassion in his heart and behaves so humanely will not commit offense or do anything that will be derogatory to others.
Rational judgement of Dyer has never been affected although he consumes marijuana. From the incident that his friend was planning to rob, he had stood firm in his righteous judgement, Im not going to go rob somebody for some synthetic (Curtis 3). He even urged his teammates not to rob because he was certain of what bad consequences robbing would lead to, Theres no way yall are going to make it out of this (Curtis 3). Again, this shows that Dyer is ethically and morally sound. He puts a conscious effort in trying to stop his peers from committing crime reflecting on his good personality as a person.
Despite the lack of motive to kill, the possession of a gun raised another non-concrete flag in Dyers career. Why would a person kill if he knows robbing is already wrong? There is no reason for him to receive a red flag because the possession of the gun was legal, The purchase was legal, and, in Alabama, unremarkable (Curtis 3) He is an athlete, a talented one who was MVP of 2011 BCS title game. Even though Dyer has difficulty explaining why he bought the gun, I think he just has not figured out what he wants to do with it. It could be a beginning of his gun collection or learning a new sport. Playing various kind of sports or picking up a new sport is nothing unexceptional for an athlete that is worth headlines. In fact, shooting is an Olympic sport since 1896 (International Olympic Committee).A sport that requires mental focus and arm strength. He has done nothing wrong to legally own a gun.
The influences of media have a huge impact on Dyers image, where headlines are used as a weapon against an upright man. The media have magnified his mistakes by unfairly raising red flags through the evaluation of his skin color, There was marijuana. There was a gun. And there was the color of Dyers skin (Curtis 6). In a melting pot like America, a nation that is regarded for equal opportunity, freedom and liberty, the last thing that should discriminate people is the color of their skin. However, this was not the case with Dyer. The fact that he possessed a gun was blown out of proportion because of the fact that he was a man of color. This is completely wrong in all aspects. It is obvious to me that while people are willing to amalgamate, the media is provoking segregation by stereotyping gun possession with a black male.
Dyers passion for football made him agree to a false accusation in order to be able to play football again. Also, his coach, Hill told Dyer that by pleading guilty, and being apologetic the society would forgive the portrayed mistakes and also his image would be rebuilt smoothly. Tell your story. Confess your sins(Curtis 6). Hill recognized that the society is forgiving if Dyer shows his remorse. He was telling Dyer to admit his red flags as real offenses for the sake of being forgiven instantly. Dyer agreed with Hill and placed his justice after his passion on being a football player, so they decided to rebuild his brand. Dyer is positive on his future and willing to scarify everything, including his dignity while being apologetic in order to return to college football.
In a nutshell, Dyer is willing to sacrifice everything he owns in order to realize his passion of continuing his journey as a football player. Be it committing to weekly drug tests or even leaving his gun at home, Dyer is willing to go to any extent to get his life back. The media has invaded his life and stolen his future from him. For a young person who merely tested the waters , Dyer has been outrageously accused of multiple wrongs. This innocent man has been indicted to false charges, racial discrimination and has been torn apart by the media. Nothing but headlines have suggested Michael Dyer is an irrational villain. Why are coaches and people guided by controversial suggestions? These flaccid suggestions have cost Dyer his passion and career. The media has to be responsible for making false headlines about Dyer. It is truly tormenting to see a pristine athlete go through so much misery for petty issues that he may as well not have been committed.
References
International Olympic Committee. SHOOTING: participation during the history of the Olympic Games, September 2011. Web. 30 September. 2013. <http://www.olympic.org Assets/OSC%20Section/pdf/QR_sports_summer/Sports_Olympiques_tir_eng.pdf >
Curtis,Brayan. Red Flags. Grantland., 25 July 2013. Web. 30 September. 2013. <http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9505721/michael-dyer-aaron-hernandez-red-flags-sports> .

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