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Author Topic: Bizarre and sad  (Read 653 times)
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Desmond
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« on: June 29, 2004, 04:20:46 PM »

Tonight, ESPN25 (5 p.m. Pacific) will reveal where the death of Dale Earnhardt ranks among the biggest sports stories of the last 25 years.  It is somewhere between 11th and 15th.

Millions witnessed the crash that killed Earnhardt on television.  Just two days ago, ESPN2 showed the crash that killed drag racer Darrell Russell.  Such events are always difficult to watch, and I feel for everyone who puts together these broadcasts.

At the end of the show, the network will show a panel discussion with sportscaster Dick Enberg, and sportswriters Tony Kornheiser and Ralph Wiley.  Wiley died of a heart attack while watching the NBA Finals on June 13.  He was 52 years old--a little more than two years older than Earnhardt was when he was killed.

All in all, it will be a sad program :cry:

Finally, I would like to thank Vivian for the "silent" thread at General Chit Chat.  Auto racing--whether it is NASCAR, open wheel, or drag racing--is a very close-knit community, and every death hurts us all.
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old hot rodder
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2004, 05:49:47 PM »

Thanks for a truly sincere and compassionate post, Desmond. I didn't know about Wiley.
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Desmond
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2004, 04:40:06 PM »

You're very welcome, Dave.

ESPN ranks the death of Dale Earnhardt as the 15th-greatest story of the last 25 years (it went on the air Sept. 7, 1979).  

Dick Enberg noted NASCAR's safety improvements in the time since the tragedy.  Perhaps NHRA can learn something as it deals with the death of Darrell Russell.  Already, speculation is turning to the possible role of tires in the accident.

Finally, I must note that viewers at home knew of Russell's death, but not those in attendance.  I think the spectators should have known also, but it may well have caused NHRA to cancel the whole event and they didn't want to.

What do you think of NHRA's decision not to tell the spectators at Gateway?
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Cheryl
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2004, 06:43:53 PM »

Quote from: "Desmond"
What do you think of NHRA's decision not to tell the spectators at Gateway?


I think that is how any sanctioning body generally handles it.  I've never been at an event when someone was killed, but I know they end up continuing to run the race in almost every case.  The only ones I personally remember are Grant Adcox (Fall Atlanta Cup Race1989), J. D. McDuffie at Watkins Glen in the early 90s and Greg Moore in the IRL race at CA a couple years ago.  I think the TV audience found out about most of those way before the people in attendance (I was watching at home in all three cases).

I'm not saying this is the right thing to do and "the show must go on" and all that, just that it is the past precedence.

Cheryl
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Vivian
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2004, 08:34:30 PM »

The thing that gets me most about any of the death accidents is that they keep replaying the crashes before they know the driver is okay.  Even though they later said it was an injury to the head, one had to wonder how much the total engulfment of flames added to it.  I can remember when Rich Vogler was killed and they decided not to show the replays for many years until they did know someone was okay, but apparently they have drifted away from that.  In Earnhardt's case, I felt I knew as soon as they talked to Kenny Shrader and he just shook his head and said he was no doctor.  What he must have felt at that time.  I cannot imagine.

As far as not telling the spectators, I don't disagree with that.  I feel they should wait untilt the last minute to do that rather than letting them hear it on the radio or tv.  However, we must remember that a lot of fans take radios, scanners, small tv's with them so some probably knew before.
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