Sorry to trouble you. Andre Harrison here, another one of those pesky Motorsport journalists you were so quick to condemn last night – Apologies in advance, but I’d like you to read this open letter of mine.
You see, I saw your comments regarding yesterday’s horrific terror attack in London yesterday. I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt and say your comments came from a good place. No-one wants to see terrorism on any scale. Not really. And that’s why I think you made the comments that you made. However, I have to call out some of your ignorance because unfortunately, people like you in these situations are a huge part of the problem.
I am not justifying what this possible terrorist may or may not have done. That’s what the criminal justice system is for. Everyone has a right to a fair trial, no? Shooting the person in the head like you suggested, takes away that right. I don’t think anyone wants to see more police brutality on our streets like we get so often in the United States. Last time we had that, half the city was rioting.
Do you not understand how the medical industry works? The most beautiful thing about it is that it’s selfless and judgeless. Their job is to save lives, whoever they may be, or what they’ve done. If they’re leaving people on the side of the pavement to die, they’re not doing their job properly. Not to mention their incredible bravery of trying to help in a terror situation, mere minutes after 50 people got ran over by this guy in a 4×4. These people are heroes, and they protect people like you and me. They’re not accessories to manslaughter.
You’re a biker. God forbid one day, someone knocks you off said bike, and the Doctors refused to treat you because you disrespected them yesterday with your ignorant tweets? Could you imagine that? Because that would be exactly the same as what you were suggested today, acting like healthcare is an entitlement, not a right. That’s the beauty of the NHS, even if our government fails to see that at the moment.
I get it, though – You’re scared. Terrorism is the kinda thing you see on the news often, but in those smaller countries, we don’t really care about in the Western world, like Syria. It’s always magnified by 11 when it happens so close to home. But I hope you realise that your attitude is one that puts this country back 50 years. Acting irrationally out of fear is EXACTLY WHAT THESE KINDS OF PEOPLE WANT. They want chaos. They want fear. Anything to disrupt that mainstream status quo that we all love so much.
Instead? London stands together today. Getting on buses, and riding trains, probably complaining that Whitehall station is closed. That’s the beautiful thing about our city. Even in the fact of tragedy, it stands strong. We did during 7/7, and all the other terrorist attacks we’ve had to deal with since. Showing compassion, and coming together as humanity, will always trump the extreme minority who hates what the world is. That’s coming from me, a man born and raised in West London for 24 years, a son of a Jamaican immigrant. The city’s greatest strength is in its diversity and its respect for different cultures.
Which makes it all the more upsetting you doubled down against Simon Patterson on Twitter, and told him to “stick to MotoGP” because your wife was rightly criticised by her insensitivity on such a difficult matter. Telling someone to stick to sports because you don’t like their opinion is more damaging than ever in a world where sports are no longer that pleasant distraction to take you away from how fucked up the world is.
Just because Simon makes his money covering the bikes you love so much, doesn’t give you the right to put him down for it simply for disagreeing. It’s that kind of discourse that breeds hate, shutting people down rather than having a discussion. We’re always better when we sit down and talk. And think.
You’re an incredibly lucky man in the grand scheme of things. You’re married. Have kids. Made hundreds of thousands of pounds off your god-given talent for the last 20 years or so. You’re the face of the biggest domestic Superbike series in the world. Whether you like it or not, you’re the role model and ambassador for a series that makes millions. I’m not saying that means you can’t say what you want, but it gives you a level of responsibility and accountability for how you present yourself, and there’s a good chance your reputation will take a hit due to these comments and someone of your position should know better.
This isn’t about fear. Or violence. Or who deserves treatment. This is about basic human compassion and decency. I hope upon reading this, and reading the news, that you can find that someday, rather than skipping to the back of the newspaper, reading about your latest victory, and spouting hate speech from your position of entitlement. Because if you ask me; THAT is what’s truly cowardly.