I won't kid you, my heart sank a little when I saw it.
I had not yet checked my Twitter feed until about 2:30 Friday afternoon. But then I saw the story that came from the NHL on NBC account that said Gordie Howe's family had no plans to donate the hockey great's brain to concussion research.
Seriously, for a moment, I thought he was gone. Now, having only started watching hockey 20 years ago, I openly admit I have never seen Mr. Hockey play on TV (except in game film), nor do I own any memorabilia -- a Howe Whalers jersey is difficult to acquire, and I don't even allow Detroit Red Wings hockey cards in my house.
But, I'm a die-hard hockey fan. I know what Gordie Howe means to the game. The man is a living legend.
Oh... and by the way... still living.
Apparently, this story stemmed from a recent appearance by Howe's sons on talk radio, in which they said their father was suffering from a "mild cognitive impairment" that could progress into dementia.
Now, this is bad enough for a family to deal with... without having to hear from overzealous reporters who decided it's a good idea to ask Gordy's son Marty, "So... what are your plans for your father's brain when he dies?"
Now, to be fair, I'm sure whatever callous jackass started this at least tried to phrase this question in a much more sensitive manner then I have made it out to be. However, that does not make the question any less asinine or insensitive.
Believe me, I totally get that concussions are a major concern in today's NHL, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) has been a big topic of discussion. And I understand that Marty has even said he thinks concussions could be a factor in his father's cognitive impairment.
But for God's sake, whether or not Howe is having memory loss or other symptoms, he is still up and about, and even doing fundraisers to support dementia research. The man is in his 80s, and is still out there fighting the fight. This goes beyond hockey... he's a person trying to make a difference. What the hell gives a reporter the balls to ask the man's family about end-of-life issues?
That's not even a matter of balls. That is just blatant disrespect.
When the time comes to discuss it, it is an issue for Gordie Howe's family to discuss, and the result of that discussion is none of the media's damned business, until the family says it is.
This isn't newsworthy... it's just inappropriate.