What is it about NFL media members making insensitive comments about Dwayne Haskins after his death?
Haskins tragically died in April after he was struck by a truck while attempting to cross a highway in Florida. The 24-year-old was expected to compete for the Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback job before the tragedy.
In the wake of his death, ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported the news but chose to focus on the struggles Haskins faced as an NFL player, which many people found unnecessary and demeaning. Schefter would soon delete the tweet and later apologize to Haskins’s family privately.
That same day, Gil Brandt of the NFL Network decided this was the appropriate time to detail Haskins’ maturity issues, even going as far as to say “maybe if he stayed in school a year he wouldn’t do silly things [like] jogging on a highway.” He would later apologize as well.
The #Steelers will honor their late teammate, Dwayne Haskins, by wearing a “3” sticker on their helmets throughout the year. pic.twitter.com/zaSqAJm1hv
— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) September 9, 2022
While Haskins has not been forgotten (the Steelers will pay tribute to him this season with a helmet sticker decal), the NFL world moved forward since then and it seemed as though everyone got the insensitive comments out of their system.
However, on Wednesday, TribLIVE reporter Chris Adamski tweeted about Mason Rudolph and the Steelers’ quarterback situation and included a fairly insensitive way of referring to Haskins.
“Mason Rudolph ended last season as the QB2,” wrote Adamski. “The only other QBs the Steelers had retired or died. Rudolph nonetheless begins the next season as the QB3.”
It’s certainly nothing like Brandt’s gross comments, but, at best, it’s callous and in poor taste, especially given that it’s coming from a member of the Pittsburgh media covering the team.
The tweet was pretty strongly condemned afterward by some on Twitter.
Chris Adamski went to bed tonight thinking, “Yup, that’s the tweet.”
He’s going to wake up tomorrow and realized he was sorely mistaken. The insensitivity and disrespect is astonishing.
I don’t think he should be reporting on the Steelers. Scumbag.
— Melissa (@mdrizzy22) September 8, 2022
It’s been 45 mins, and Chris Adamski still hasn’t deleted his tasteless tweet. Then you wonder why PGH sports media members are despised. It’s unfortunate, because there are some I really like and respect
— That Sports Guy (@Jason_Shetler) September 8, 2022
Within two hours, Adamski deleted the offending tweet and then posted an apology.
It’s gut-wrenching I disrespected the deceased and his family.
— Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) September 8, 2022
“I referenced 2021 Steelers QBs in a tweet,” wrote Adamski, “It’s obvious I used a poor choice of words. I apologize. I’m sorry it hurt people. I didn’t want to act as if Dwayne Haskins didn’t exist. He did – and by all indications, he was a warm person people were drawn to and enjoyed being around.
“It’s gut-wrenching I disrespected the deceased and his family.”
Based on reactions to the apology, it appears that some accepted it and some didn’t, and that’s probably the best anyone could hope for these days. It seems like it’s clear why the language choice was offensive to some Steelers fans and Adamski sounds contrite.
That said, something is fascinating about the way Haskins seems to get continually disrespected following his death. And with discussions about him sure to bubble up once more as the 2022 NFL season kicks off, we’re all a little wary of what members of the NFL media might say about him next.
[Chris Adamski, BSO, The Spun]