Nile Ranger has been convicted of being a gangster and a thug today by the court of public opinion. A photo of Ranger holding a GUN (all caps by the publication printing the image), which he claimed is a replica through a Newcastle spokesperson, has been leaked by The Sun, a paper known for its tabloidesque tendencies. In the image, Ranger is pointing the handgun in the air with his finger on what is obviously a plastic trigger.
Let's be honest with each other for a moment. Nile Ranger is a black man who wears his hair in cornrows, spent some time in custody when he was young, and has history of mixing up his words when speaking with the press. He's not somebody that's going to be given the benefit of the doubt in England, especially not by football journalists.
It's a shame that this is a story (and yes, I am drawing attention to the situation by commenting on it. That's not the point.), but then again, this is just another indictment on the state of sports journalism today. Every action (or inaction) is scrutinized and athletes are held to different standards than anybody else by virtue of being considered "role models." Violence is a pervasive problem in today's world, but this sort of "controversy" is counterproductive and only serves to embolden those who would seek to confirm their own misguided stereotypes.