Amidst all of the media attention surrounding the Olympics and the NBA All-Star Weekend, one story probably went unnoticed by most sports fans today. The one I’m talking about is in reference to the recent death of former Bears/Bucs defensive end Gaines Adams.
On January 17th, Adams, 26, suffered a fatal heart attack in Greenwood, SC. Shortly thereafter, conclusive autopsy results showed that Adams’ death was caused by an enlarged heart.
With the essential facts sorted out in this terrible tragedy, the media should have nothing more to report, right? I mean, officials determined the cause of death and established the fact that foul play or illegal activity didn’t play a part in the incident. Leave the family alone as they try to remember their loved one, RIGHT?
Well, I guess not…not in the eyes of most major American sports media outlets.
Because today when new, and may I say IRRELEVANT facts emerged in the Adams death case, the media was right there to dish ’em out. And these weren’t just any old facts…they were facts that could cast an unnecessary dark shadow on a deserving legacy of honor and hard work for Adams.
You see, Adams apparently had marijuana and alcohol in his system at the time of his death, according to toxicology reports. However, it’s been made perfectly clear that the substances DID NOT play any part in his death.
First of all, as if this even needs justification, his alcohol level was .02, which is well below the legal limit of .08. Hell…I probably have a BAC of .02 right now and I haven’t had a beer since Friday night! Say what you want about the marijuana in his system, but let’s just say he isn’t the only athlete ever to dabble.
The point is that after a tragedy like this, why even report things like this? If they didn’t cause his death, then what’s the friggin’ point?
I know the media are technically just the messengers, but have a heart! The problem here is that when I saw this story today, my initial reaction was “Whoa! Drugs/booze played a part?” I obviously read it quickly. But then I read it carefully and realized it had absolutely nothing to do with his death.
Stories are reported in headlines. People read headlines quickly. I’m sure lots of people saw the “drugs/alcohol” part of it, associated those words with Gaines Adams, and then formed an opinion. Not everybody reads things carefully. Or maybe you do read it carefully, but despite the fact that drugs and alcohol didn’t play a part in the death, you immediately label Adams as an addict or a user…who knows?
This is the way the media disseminates information…and sadly, sometimes this is the way people process that information. Gaines Adams was widely regarded as a good teammate and a good person, yet the media is attaching negative connotations to his name with reports that have NOTHING to do with his death.
Look, I understand that if a media outlet gets a legitimate, well-sourced piece of information that people may be interested in, then it’s probably in their best interest to report it. But in this case, I’m disappointed that sports media outlets felt the need to release information that is only going to hurt people already mourning a devastating loss.