The tragic death of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins unfortunately has been a bit overshadowed by some distasteful comments in regards to his career, and his path to the NFL.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter was the first example of that lack of compassion as the NFL insider initially posted a since-deleted tweet breaking the news while framing Haskins as someone who struggled “to catch on” in the league. The public backlash aimed at Schefter, as one may expect, is rather extensive.
Unfortunately, though, Schefter was not alone in his poor remarks as NFL Hall of Famer Gil Brandt proved exactly why, especially in the face of tragedy, it’s better to say nothing than it is to say something of poor taste.
The 90-year-old Brandt, while speaking on SirusXM’s NFL radio show Saturday morning, did not get that memo, though. Instead, the longtime NFL executive weighed in on Haskins and dug into his past.
“Well, you know, anytime anybody is killed or anybody dies, but he was a guy that was living to be dead, so to speak,” Brandt started. “They told him don’t, under any circumstances, leave school early. You don’t have the work habits, you don’t have this, you don’t have that. What did he do? Left school early.
“I always can remember this, we invited players to the draft and he was one of the players we invited to the draft. And we were told, ‘No, we’re going to have our own party.’ His own party was a party at the bowling alley, charged them 50 bucks to get in to the bowling alley for his party. It was always something, you know?,” Brandt continued. “It’s one of those things ‘I’m never offside, but they keep calling me for offside.’ It is what it is.
“It’s a tragic thing, anytime anybody dies it’s tragic. Especially when you’re 24 years old and you got your whole life ahead of you. But maybe if he had stayed in school a year he wouldn’t do silly things. I mean, jogging on the highway on a road like that, that leaves it open. Because I’ll tell you, a guy has two drinks and he’s just a little to the right side of the road and gets hit and killed, it’s easy to happen.”
Brandt’s comments, rather unsurprisingly, did not sit well with many. And rightfully so. Those who knew Haskins and many who did not ripped the former Dallas Cowboys executive.
Steelers teammate Cam Heyward tweeted: “@Gil_Brandt I do not know or will assume to but please don’t speak on my friend. He will be missed and your words are disgraceful. We are all hurting right now.”
Haskins, according to reports, was struck by a truck and killed in South Florida. The former first-round pick was just 24 years old.