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The New York Times has received negative backlash on Twitter following the disparaging obituary of a beloved sports coach.
The Times, who infamously published an obituary for Fidel Castro titling him as a “Cuban revolutionary who defied the U.S.,” decided to focus on the negative when covering Cincinnati Bengals coaching legend Sam Wyche.
Wyche’s memorium tweet described him as “the last coach to lead the Bengals to the Super Bowl… later fined by the National Football League for barring a female reporter from the team’s locker room.”
Wyche, who is credited with revolutionizing the game by innovating the no huddle offence, made headlines in October 1990 after being fined by the NFL for $27,000 after preventing a female USA Today reporter from entering the team’s locker room. Wyche believed that women should not be allowed to walk in on players while they’re naked.
“No amount of fine will force me to change my conviction on this matter,” he told reporters. “We need to find a way for women to have a decent and open access to all these athletes. The commissioner feels like it’s more important to fine me than to seek another solution.”
The smear by the Times is particularly upsetting when compared to other obituaries, especially recently, calling American enemy of the public Qassim Soleimani the “master of Iran’s Intrigue and Force,” and nothing more.
Though Wyche’s full obituary from the Times is respectful, the byline alone has been called out by many for disparaging the memory of a man whose sole controversy—not allowing women into the locker room—took up only one sentence in his entire life’s biography.