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From Turkey With Love, Vindication For Diana Taurasi

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The media and society in general rushed to judgement in the Taurasi case. Her vindication should be a lesson moving forward.

I know this has not been a good couple of days for WNBA haters and those who like to take shots at the women who play in the league. After stories surfaced on Christmas Eve no less than Mercury and WNBA superstar Diana Taurasi had tested positive for a banned substance, the web was full of disgusting comments from uneducated, uninformed and pathetic people who took one shot after another at Taurasi. 

I finally stopped reading some of the comments after becoming infuriated by some of the stuff that was being written about a person I know and consider a friend. Forget the fact that she's one of the top athletes in her sport; I'm talking about Diana Taurasi the person.

Fast forward two months and just as Taurasi said from the beginning, the truth was finally revealed.

Her ban by the Turkish basketball federation was lifted and she's been cleared to play again, although it seems highly unlikely that the Mercury star will be heading back to Turkey any time soon. The lab who reported the findings has reportedly not accepted any failures in the testing procedure which really comes as no surprise.

From the moment this story broke it's absolutely stunk to high heaven. The simple fact that this even surfaced before Taurasi was able to even defend herself and the protocol or lack thereof that the lab failed to follow was complete bush league.

Yes, the news yesterday was great to hear but so much damage was already done to Taurasi and the WNBA that can never be undone. You can't unfire a bullet!

Taurasi lost the remainder of her salary that she would've been paid by her Turkish team, the team lost a chance at a Euro League championship once Taurasi departed and the WNBA and the Phoenix Mercury were once again put on the defensive when the news broke.  Due to the nature of the story it made it especially difficult for either party to say much because of the process that Taurasi and her lawyers had to take in order to get the Lab and the World Anti-Doping Agency to hear them out.

I think we've all come to realize now that in this 24/7 news cycle world that we live in, the days of innocent until proven guilty are a thing of the past. Some of the comments that I not only read, but heard people say were absolutely ridiculous yet to hear them say it you would think they had a direct pipeline to the lab results themselves. 

The web is a wonderful thing but it's also become a platform for just about anyone to say just about anything to get a reaction. There are no restrictions other than a moral compass and sadly it seems far too often that compass is nonexistent.

Her name was slapped across newspaper headlines, internet stories, blogs, on sports highlights for well over a month and in each one of those cases the implication was negative towards Taurasi.  How many people had their view of Taurasi determined by reports that turned out to be inaccurate?

As a father I had to talk to my children about the reports and how they were wrong but I had to begin by telling my kids about how stories like this can happen these days. As children they still believe that if somethings on the TV or in the newspaper or on the internet it must be true.

Little do they know that they will likely encounter something similar at some point in their lives. I was able to that because I know Diana Taurasi, but how many moms and dads were immediately turned off by the news and Taurasi and now even after the truth is revealed won't give her or the league a second chance because of it?

Bad news travels faster and has a far bigger impact than good news and that's just the reality of our society today. You won't see a lot of follow up stories on Taurasi's vindication because, well that's just not salacious or sexy or riveting. If you've read any of my prior stories you know I'm a big supporter of the WNBA and yes I'm an even bigger supporter of Diana Taurasi. She's become a friend to me and my family. I'm a father of three who loves to cover sports and still likes to compete when I can and I make no apologies about any of the above.

My simple request is that before you swing the gavel and yell guilty about an athlete, or for that matter an ordinary person make sure you know all the facts. In the last several years the general public and even the media has rushed to judgment on individuals only to be proven wrong about their initial stance. Being first means nothing if you're wrong.

While Taurasi may still get some vindication thru the legal process her real vindication will come on the floor this summer and I for one look forward to watching her take her anger, frustration and I'm guessing a little dose of vengeance out on the rest of the league.