Following Amanda Knox’s recent acquittal of all charges regarding the death of Meridith Kercher, the spotlight has firmly fallen on the next move of the young American.
Unless you have been in a cave for the last few years, you will have undoubtedly come across the media fascination surrounding the case and the media’s portrayal of Knox (or ‘Foxy Knoxy’ as she has been dubbed). The obsession surrounding ‘America’s girl’ is only set to intensify following her return to the States. With many questions being left unanswered there are still a die hard few that remain convinced that she knows more than she is letting on, with even the judge who acquitted her still questioning her innocence.
Knox returns to America with a flurry of offers for interviews and talks of possible book and film deals waiting in the wings. The question now seems what path is best for her to, as she put it, regain her life? And would it be insensitive to cash in on the furore that has been created?
The answer, in short, is yes.
I’ll go on a little bit of a tangent for the minute in the hopes of arguing the merits of taking the high road and not cashing in on the frenzy created – bear with me.
I take you back to game 6 of the World Championship Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Florida Marlins in 2003, and to what would become known as the Steve Bartman incident. The cubs were 3-0 up and cruising to what seemed a certain win and a World Series final.
During the eighth inning several spectators attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Marlins’ second baseman, Luis Castillo. Steve Bartman is amongst the fans and the first to get a touch on the ball, taking it from the glove of Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou. Had Alou caught the ball the Cubs would have been only four innings from winning the Series. Subsequently, they gave up eight innings and in the second game were knocked out of the Series.
Following the incident, Bartman, ironically a life long and die hard Cubs fan, had to be escorted from the stands by security after receiving numerous death threats and became the scapegoat for the failing of the team. In the following months he received death threats and constant media hounding forcing the family to change their phone number, with the governor of Illinois even offering entry into the witness protection programme and new identities for his family.
However, throughout this onslaught of attention Bartman remained defiant by never talking to the media. His sole communication came in the form of a letter in which he expressed his deepest regrets to the team, coach and Cubs fans stating he was ‘truly sorry’ and ‘was caught up in the moment’.
But the measure of the man came in the form of his continuing respect of the feeling of Cubs fans and the Cubs’ dynasty. He has consistently refused big money deals to talk about the incident, including a recent offer to be in a six figure Superbowl commercial and ESPN documentary surrounding the affair. His humble and quiet stance has earned him huge amounts of respect from the media community, Cubs fans and the general public who, like me, applaud his actions. Through them, he has shown a great amount of grounding and respect towards his family, and has in himself become an icon of sorts.
This is the manner in which I believe Knox should conduct herself in the coming months. Her family is clearly wealthy, as they funded a large media campaign to have her released, and does not need the sums of money being promised to her. Therefore, to earn the respect of the wider community her silence would do more to build her image in the public than indulging in self-serving publicity, which would do little to assuage the bad feeling towards her and would, quite probably, create more hostility.
Whilst I understand that she will feel the need to tell her side of the story, she must do so sensitively. A few key opportunities will undoubtedly present themselves, which she could utilise but overuse would be to her detriment.
Finally, she must consider the fact that while her family are elated at the result, it is another agonising blow to the family of the victim as they have to endure, time and time again, the dredging up of the details of their daughter’s final tragic moments. For the sake of a return to normal life for herself and that of the Kercher family, silence is golden.