On Wednesday, former Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears running back Marion Barber III was found dead in his Frisco, Texas, apartment.
Barber was just 38 years old. The cause of Barber’s death is unknown at this time, but it’s certainly tragic when anybody dies that young. The resulting obituaries should be handled with sensitivity and grace,
and you'd think the mainstream media would get it. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. ABC News, which repurposed the Associated Press report on Barber's death through syndication, posted this tweet to link to the story.
What Barber’s yearly yardage totals from 2005 through 2011 had to do with his death is also unknown. But if we want to drill down there
Barber never had more than 238 carries in a season, and he gained at least 885 yards in three different seasons — 885 in 2008, 932 in 2009, and 975 in 2007.
But then again, why do we make this part of Barber's life a headline after his death? Barber was also named to the Pro Bowl in 2007
and he was one of the NFL’s more dominant power runners for a few seasons. Why go where ABC News did?
It is not the only recent example of a football player receiving inappropriate biographical context after his death.
When former NFL quarterback Dwayne Haskins died at age 24 after being hit by a truck in Florida on April 9, 2022, ESPN's Adam Schefter tweet this:
Is it true that Haskins struggled with two NFL teams after his time at Ohio State? Yes. Is it appropriate to lead a summary of Haskins’ life with those facts? Let’s just say that we should be able to do better. Schefter eventually apologized for the tweet, but the overriding issue remains: When did we decide that leading with somebody’s most prominent struggles was the best way to encapsulate their life upon their death?