Journalist Dan Rather's recent comments about the late Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Tyler Skaggs sparked a conversation among fans about whether or not the public really deserves to know Skaggs' cause of death. The 27-year-old Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room on July 1, before the team's scheduled game against the Texas Rangers. Rather has called for the cause of death to be released, even as investigators still work on determining the cause.
"Do I think the public should know about the death of that pitcher? You bet. I do think the public should know," Rather told TooFab. "I am aware that the family is entitled to some privacy, and if the family made a request for privacy, I did think seriously about that, but you know he was 27-years-old.... to be found under those circumstances. You bet, I think the public should know."
While Rather said a family has a "right to keep some things private," Skaggs was a "public person," alluding to someone he believes the public should know of how he died.
"Life is unpredictable. You never know, you're 27, you're having a great year, you're living your dream, boom it goes," Rather told TooFab. "This is a reminder of how fragile life is."
Following Rather's comments, a handful of fans debated the topic.
Although I disagree, I love Dan Rather. 😇😇— Suzan Delavan (@redsmm) July 11, 2019
@Evan_P_Grant - Dan Rather is demanding the coroner release the Tyler Skaggs autopsy results now instead of Oct 2 per the family’s wishes. Your thoughts? My husband and I are disagreeing on this. Please help restore the peace. #evanhelpus— Franks Better Half (@Frank_Asst) July 11, 2019
I guess my only question here would be if this timeline is unusual. If so, then I’d want to know why. If this is usual timing for release of autopsy then everybody waits.— Evan Grant (@Evan_P_Grant) July 11, 2019
The Southlake, Texas Police Department confirmed that suicide did not "appear" to be a cause of death.
Earlier this week, the Santa Monica Observer published a report that Skaggs may have overdosed on opioids, but the paper later deleted the article. Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey told Deadline the Observer story was "categorically incorrect. The cause of death is still under investigation. This sort of reckless reporting from Tyler’s hometown paper is disappointing and harmful.”
@DanRather who the eff are you to say?
TooFab: Dan Rather Calls For Tyler Skaggs' Cause of Death to be Released (Exclusive).https://t.co/zd24twsirJ
via @GoogleNews— C.C. (@offtohavasu) July 10, 2019
Publisher David Ganezer said the paper was harassed by online critics.
Dan Rather has been dead for years and no one told us the cause of death.... #NoneOfYourDamnBusiness— Rev. Dude (@ReverendDude) July 10, 2019
“We’ll never know if they were actually acquainted with the deceased, fans or whatever. But I do know that a young female intern from our organization got a creepy text message on her phone, just after midnight,” Ganezer wrote of the harassers, adding, he knows "how out of hand the potential pile-on is getting in this country... There are certain things worth risking your life and safety for, and others that just are not."
Before the All-Star Game began in Cleveland on Tuesday, MLB held a moment of silence in Skaggs' memory.
"At this time, we ask that you join us in remembering the life of Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who passed away last Monday," announcer Joe Buck said before the game. "Beloved by his teammates and family, Tyler was a vibrant member of the baseball community, whose positive spirit extended far beyond the baseball field. Please join us in a moment of silence in memory of Tyler Skaggs."
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