I suppose we’ve been forced to comment on a non-story that the media has decided to make into a story, primarily by writing stories proclaiming it to be a non-story. It’s a vicious cycle.

The facts (reportedly): Mark Sanchez has been linked to a 17-year-old girl by Deadspin; said girl is not happy that the story has come out; the law of the land says that there is nothing illegal about such a relationship.

But as we learned in the Ben Roethlisberger case, the court of public opinion is very different than the court of law, and we are allowed to change our opinion of Sanchez based on this. The fact is, this story is interesting to people. I read the Deadspin piece, and I was sort of intrigued by it.

It’s essentially gossip, and the majority of us enjoy gossip, despite the fact many of us don’t like to admit it.

Personally, it doesn’t change my opinion of Sanchez, who is 24, not 35. Although legally the age of the older person involved in a relationship isn’t relevant, it is in the court of public opinion. We all have our limits. A 35-year-old with a 17-year-old is very different than a 24-year-old with a 17-year-old.

There are some people out there who think a 17-year-old girl is still too vulnerable to date a 24-year-old man, especially considering how different the unnamed girl’s world is from Sanchez’s high-profile one. They’ll argue that Sanchez is projecting a self-esteem problem or that it comes across as creepy, weak, pathetic, whatever. But those people don’t know Sanchez or the girl involved, and they don’t know how mature either is.

Is it right? Is it wrong? Legally, it’s not wrong. Morally, it’s impossible to know. But because we all feel the need to formulate opinions regardless, we’ll judge him.

And then another Jet-related controversy will emerge and we’ll all forget about this one.