The sudden death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna stopped the entire world. Not only did the sports world change, but so did the lives of every person who knew or heard of anyone involved in the crash.
The death of public figures hits the news quickly and completely changes the people inspired by their art. But this is not to say that the flashy, high-status coverage is moral or respectful of all of those involved.
In the instance of Kobe’s death, there was more to the story than just the fact that he died. His family is in public eye, and a lot of people want to know how they are coping or even want to go deeper into knowing the family.
Mass media outlets used Kobe’s death gain attention, remaining completely unsympathetic to a wife who lost her husband and a mother who lost her child, as well as friends and family of the other passengers.
Within the first few days following the helicopter crash, news outlets focused heavily on Kobe and Vanessa Bryant’s very personal relationship.
Stassi Reid, a writer for the online news source Nicki Swift, outlined the hardships the couple endured throughout their relationship just days following Kobe’s death.
“Dreams of a perfect union were shattered when (Kobe) was accused of sexually assaulting a Colorado hotel employee in 2003,” Reid wrote. “Kobe revealed that Vanessa had been pregnant but suffered a miscarriage in early 2005. Kobe blamed himself for the loss.”
Accusations of this nature resurfacing almost two decades later and at the time of his death is completely unnecessary, and it can make coping that much more difficult.
Not only did the media discuss those personal issues, but rumors surfaced around the internet following the crash that Kobe and Vanessa vowed to never fly together, in case something like this happened.
In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Molly Carter, president of Kobe Inc., spoke on behalf of the Bryant family.
“No one has been authorized to speak on behalf of the family in regards to the family’s previous air travel decisions… These inaccurate reports only add unnecessary pain to a grieving family,” Carter said.
On the Sunday evening of the crash, the Grammys took place, and, of course, the biggest topic of the night was Kobe’s death. News outlets, like Entertainment Tonight, used this opportunity to question other celebrities.
In an interview on the red carpet, Billie Eilish, a popular singer and songwriter, was asked about her opinion on Kobe’s death. In this interview specifically, he is discussed for less than a minute of the total four minutes and his name is used in the title of the video posted on YouTube.
The media should be honoring Kobe, his daughter, and the seven other lives lost instead of choosing to focus on gaining viewers for a cable show or subscribers on a YouTube channel. A loss like this is significant and should be treated that way.
Rory Ball is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Rory know by tweeting her @roryellizabeth.