It used to be the safest place being part of a professional sports organization. It still is for the most part but in 2016 we have seen more sports personalities die from accidents and in particular by the gun. New York Yankees pitching prospect Alexander Figueredo of Venezuela was reported as having been shot multiple times at a party. He was 20.
During 2016 we saw too many examples of real life touch the fantasy existance of sports celebrities. Now, being famous only makes you a target or a bigger news story when one is killed.
Rashaan Salaam, former Heisman winner with Colorado was found in a park dead with no cause yet found. A former New York Jets running back Joe McKnight was shot during an argument. New Orleans Pelicans rookie guard Bryce Dejean-Jones was shot breaking down a door to an apartment in Dallas. New England Patriots defensive tackle Ron Brace was found dead at home, again cause unknown. Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot in a road rage incident. Lawrence Phillips appeared to commit suicide. Zurlon Tipton shot himself accidentally in his car dealership.
All these incidents serve to remind us that the common themes of anger, retribution, and mortality are not for the unfamous solely. Yes, many young athletes see themselves as invincible and as a result carry these themes into real life where the consequences are more final. Jose Fernandez was just like Figueredo.
He was 24 and speeding in his boat where he crashed off of Miami Beach. This year we learned more often that sports no longer is the safe haven from everyday life. The charmed existance does not extend to the personal lives of these men who are just as flawed but covered with the sheen of sports accomplishments to define their public characters. Now these men sit six feet under no different from you and me. None forseeing the end that came all too soon.