Tuesday Editorial: What were the networks thinking?

Posted by Richard Pollock in Columns,Editorials on October 14, 2008 — No Comments

On Monday afternoon, reports circulated around hockey world about the tragic death of 19 year old Rangers prospect Alexei Cherepanov.  The youngster’s passing is extremely sad news for hockey fans and non-hockey fans around the world.  When something like this occurs you would expect the family and friends of the youngster to be given the necessary privacy and respect that they so deserve. 

That is why I am so ashamed to have seen the networks (at least in Canada) show the video of Cherepanov’s death on national television.  All three of The Score, TSN and Sportsnet showed a video from someone’s (clearly not a professional’s) camera who was in the stands at the KHL game. 

Why on earth is that on television?

I don’t care that the networks warned viewers of what was to come.  It should never have come on the television in the first place.  There is a certain amount of dignity and respect that that young man deserved and he was not given that in an attempt to attract viewers.  What purpose does it serve to watch teammates gather around someone in a panic and see trainers try to tend to revive a 19 year old kid?  That is completely and utterly disturbing.  I turned the channel within seconds, yet I had already seen too much.

Additionally, the point should be made that when the footage was played on these stations, the young man had already passed away.  The networks weren’t broadcasting the video with the idea that Cherepanov may survive; his passing had already been announced.

What happened yesterday on the ice in Russia was an awful event.  It sure didn’t need to be re-broadcast to the entire world. 

Give Cherepanov and his family some dignity.

For Illegal Curve, I’m Richard Pollock.