The death of Tyler Skaggs has rocked fans of the Los Angeles Angels, the MLB community, and his close family. It has also left a lot of questions in the air as people try to comprehend how a young athlete can pass away so suddenly.
One major voice that has spoken out in recent days is former CBS anchor and legendary journalist Dan Rather. In the wake of the pitcher's death, Rather questioned if the public deserved to know the reason behind his sudden passing.
"Do I think the public should know about the death of that pitcher? You bet. I do think the public should know," Rather explained in an interview with 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.""A family is right to keep some things private," he added. "But in this case, he was a public person. So, I come down on the side; yes, I think the public should know."
Skaggs' death came only days before the All-Star break, with police announcing that they could rule out suicide and foul play in relation to his sudden passing. But the team, family, and authorities have requested privacy and provided silence on anything more related to the death.
Rather's statement drew plenty of criticism and support from the community for that reason.
"You choose to live in the public eye, it should be understood that means you'll die in the public eye," another wrote.
"Dan Rather is NOT a dirt bag," another wrote in defense of Rather. "You have to understand where he's coming from as a journalist. He wants to quash the rumors. The Sherriff in Texas asked for privacy for Skaggs' family & per the family's request, the results of the autopsy will [be] released some time in October."
The medical examiner in Tarrant County noted that the autopsy information wouldn't be released until a final examination is completed. This is due to the family's request, with the ME adding that it should be complete by October 2.
"As a former crime reporter: Full toxicology reports can take that long, especially if there's any sort of administrative backlog," Kenny Ocker, a Washington journalist, pointed out on Twitter.
Fans of the Angels had already been questioning the statement from Rather, noting that they disagree but still support the journalist. He also had plenty of supporters who were curious if the delay was normal or if there was some sort of unusual decision.
According to the World Health Organization, the public knowing a cause of death or measuring a cause of death for public record allows authorities to measure the effectiveness of a country's health system. Without that data, illness and diseases go unchecked, leading to larger death tolls.
Rather's comments also come on the heels of a California newspaper coming under fire and retracting a story that reported Skaggs passed due to an opioid overdose. Publisher Dan Ganezer explained why the paper took down their story in a statement.
“Not simply in the form of a threat letter from lawyers Kirkland and Ellis, representing the Angels and a certain deceased ball player. And not just in the form of anonymous phone calls and emails,” he revealed. “No, we also received multiple personal threats and attacks from anonymous sources. 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 said. “There are certain things worth risking your life and safety for, and others that just are not.”
Away from the details swirling around his demise, Skaggs' teammates honored him on Friday night with their return to Los Angeles, putting on a historic performance in a no-hit win over the Seattle Mariners.