Blog Entry

Coverage lacking in Rypien Death

Posted on: August 16, 2011 11:44 am
The media coverage of the death of Winnipeg Jets enforcer Rick Ripyen has been atrocious.

Normally I'm not a big fan of the media hopping all over the death of an athlete, instead arguing in favor of a more restrained and respectful distance from the family and friends of the deceased allowing them to grieve.

But when a 27 year-old athlete (so obviously in pretty good physical condition) making a six-figure income (so obviously not struggling financially) ends up dead in their hometown before their annual hockey school -- especially a kid who, according to th Globe and Mail, had a history of depression, which may have contributed to "...his leave of absence last November was the second he took as a member of the team in the past three seasons," something is wrong and should be opened up for discussion.

That's the media's job, after all -- or it is supposed to be.

Media's job is to open up the discussion about issues that concern society.

For the Globe and Mail, one of Canada's most respected news sources to simply say, "[l]ocal RCMP told The Globe and Mail on Monday night that the death was not suspicious," and to leave it at that, is simply disrespectful to the public, and a failure to do their job.

If Rick Rypien was battling depression issues, and ended up taking his own life (as I suspect is the case), despite having the love and support of family, friends, communities and professional hockey organizations, then isn't this unfortunate situation another opportunity for society to open up the discussion on depression issues, their causes, and the horrible results.

It's a situation and opportunity that I fear will pass without acknowledgement or enlightenment, and we'll have to wait for another tell-all book from a former player to bring this issue to light.

I guess the death of a 27 year-old man isn't enough to make media outlets like the Globe and Mail to do their job. They'll probably cover the tell-all in a few years, though.

I'm not going to say that Rypien was a good hockey player, because he was certainly not (and he was a Vancouver Canuck for a long time, so I have a built-in dislike for him as a player anyway) but to ignore the circumstances of his death disrespects him as a person, as well as his family and loved ones far more than the over-coverage that I sometimes abhor ever could.

It also fails society.

Thanks, Globe and Mail (and every other news source thus far), for continuing to ignore the wishes of those that pay you. We want you to open up discussion on important issues, not ignore them and hope they go away.
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