Here’s What We Know So Far About The Untimely Death Of Mexican-American Pitcher Tyler Skaggs
Less than a week after the unexpected passing of 27-year-old Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Tyler Skaggs, there is new controversy surrounding the reporting of his death. The Santa Monica Observer sparked widespread outrage when it speculated that Skaggs had died of an opioid overdose. But after receiving a wave of blowback, the California newspaper scrapped the piece and wrote an op-ed explaining why it did so. The explanation has been met with a tepid response from police and the Angels organization.
There are few details surrounding the reason behind Skagg’s death so far.
Tragedy struck the baseball world last week when Skaggs, who is of Mexican descent, was found by the Southlake Police Department unconscious in a hotel room hours before his team was about to play the Texas Rangers. Authorities pronounced the 27-year-old dead at the scene, a police press release said. But there were still many questions about how such a young promising star like Skaggs could be found like this.
Shortly after, the Santa Monica Observer reported that Skaggs may have been getting opioid prescriptions from doctors who were unaware of each other’s treatments. That report was quickly shot down by Texas police who said there was no credible information to support that Skaggs died of an overdose or suicide.
Angels spokesperson, Marie Garvey, said the report was also wrong citing that the investigation is still ongoing at this time. While an autopsy has reportedly been completed, the results of it and a toxicology report will not be released until October.
“This article is categorically incorrect,” Garvey said in a statement. “The cause of death is still under investigation as stated by the Southlake Police Department. We have tried to contact the paper to correct this story but have [been] unsuccessful in our attempts. This sort of reckless reporting from Tyler’s hometown paper is disappointing and harmful.”
The Op-Ed piece did little to clear things up as many wonder why this was published in the first place.
The op-ed, published this past Saturday, titled “Why Did We Take Down Our Original Story About The Death of a Ballplayer?” says the publication took down the story due to multiple threats. Santa Monica Observer publisher David Ganezer wrote the op-ed and defended it’s publishing. He said the newspaper’s staff received “multiple personal threats and attacks from anonymous sources,” including “a creepy text message” that was sent to a young female intern’s cellphone.
“She wasn’t frightened about it at all,” Ganezer wrote. “But I was. I’m older, much older; and I know more about how out of hand the potential pile-on is getting in this country.”
“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,” Ganezer said. “No, we also received multiple personal threats and attacks from anonymous sources.
The original article was ultimately scrubbed of the opioid details but Ganezer said in his op-ed it was made clear from the author, Stan Greene, the piece was “speculation.”
This isn’t the first time the newspaper publishes “speculative information.”
The baseball world is still in mourning over the death of Skaggs and many teammates have shown their respect for their fallen teammate in various ways since last Monday. But for Skagg’s family, the last thing they want at this time is presumptive information being released about him.
According to the Santa Monica Lookout, the Observer has had previous situations where the paper published incorrect stories. This past January, a story ran with the headline, “Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Will Retire from the US Supreme Court in January 2019.” This was false. In December 2016, the headline, “Kanye West Appointed Under-Secretary of the Interior After Meeting at Trump Tower” was published, which was also false. Both pieces were written by Greene, who also wrote the article on Skaggs’ passing.
At this time, the paper says they would comment further on the story when Skaggs’ autopsy and toxicology reports are released in October. Maybe by then, we’ll have a more accurate picture on this unfortunate passing.