Longtime NFL scout and former Cowboys executive Gil Brandt addressed Dwayne Haskins’ death Saturday morning, brutally criticizing the late Steelers quarterback in a painfully tone-deaf interview aired on Sirius XM.
“I hate anytime anybody is killed or anybody dies. But he was a guy who was living to be dead,” the Hall-of-Famer told Vic Carucci and Dan Leberfeld of Sirius XM NFL Radio. “They told him don’t under any circumstances leave school early. You just don’t have the work habits. You don’t have this, you don’t have that. What did he do? He left school early.”
Pushing a false narrative is irresponsible enough—Haskins was one of the top performers in college football his junior season and a consensus first-round talent. But Brandt somehow dug an even bigger hole for himself, showing little empathy while inexplicably connecting Haskins’ death to his decision to leave Ohio State a year early.
“It was always something,” said Brandt, who also questioned Haskins’ decision to watch the draft among friends and family at a local bowling alley instead of attending in person. “Anytime anybody dies it’s tragic, especially when you’re 24 years old and you got your whole life ahead of you. Maybe if he’d have stayed in school a year he wouldn’t do silly things [like] jogging on the highway.”
Brandt’s callous remarks display a stunning lack of awareness, assassinating Haskins’ character mere hours after he was struck and killed by a dump truck while traversing I-595 on foot. Brandt, who turned 90 last month, predictably drew the ire of NFL Twitter, with players and media voices universally condemning his wildly inappropriate comments.
ESPN insider Adam Schefter was similarly dragged for alluding to Haskins’ professional struggles in a since-deleted tweet, failing to read the room in wake of a terrible tragedy.
It’s true Haskins didn’t live up to expectations on the field throughout his brief NFL career, though such a distinction is hardly relevant at a time like this, with the football community mourning the senseless loss of a young man who still had so much to give.