I truly don't believe there is a more hallow phrase in the English language than "justice prevails". On the surface it seems so positive. Right toppling wrong. Good reigning superior over evil. However, it takes no more than a matter of seconds after hearing a final verdict to realize that all it acts as (in this case anyway) is a painful reminder that countless people have lost a well respected loved one. Semantically speaking, it would be accurate to say that the death of Will Smith has been avenged by a ruling that will put the person responsible for it behind bars, but does anyone truly feel that way? I have no fucking clue what happened that fateful night, but as a biased Saints fan I was silently rooting for the presecution as much as anyone throughout the proceedings. Then I got the good news I was hoping for and it felt just as empty as it would have if it were bad news. The only thing that has changed between 24 hours ago and now is that there is one less criminal on the streets. We woke up today and Will Smith's wife is still widowed. His children are still fatherless. His friends and family still trying to patch the hole in their heart. His former teammates forever mourning his absence whenever they get together to celebrate their collective accomplishments. Perhaps it's silly for me to try to put into the words the facade that is the "vindication" of man who is now nothing but a memory when Deuce McAllister echoed that same sentiment for a fallen comrade better than I possibly can...
I will say - as relatively unimportant as it may seem - it was nice to see Will Smith's former teammates and head coach so supportive of his family through this trying time. Without doing too much research I can remember Drew Brees, Roman Harper, Steve Gleason, Marques Colston, Deuce McAllister, Jahri Evans, Pierre Thomas, and Sean Payton all making appearances throughout the trial and that really speaks to the cohesiveness of the franchise. The fact that he was still so closely tied with the organization undoubtedly means that more people are having to reflect back on the tragic loss of someone close to them, but hopefully having each other to lean on can make that process at least a little easier.