Wednesday, January 03, 2007

My Thoughts on the Darrent Williams Tragedy

posted by John Blanco @ 7:42 AM


What should be the first happy new year's days have been a bit dampened for me. I didn't know Darrent personally, but as a passionate Broncos fan he still felt something like family to me.

I'd only seen him one time, in person, and that was New Year's Eve at the Broncos-49ers game -- the same night he was killed. He made some great plays during the game, one defensively to block a touchdown catch (he was our starting cornerback opposite Champ Bailey) and a long punt return to mid-field (he was our starting punt returner).

When I woke up New Year's Morning, I was shocked to see the news. It was surreal. And soon after, it also jogged an old memory.

In June, 1993, I was 16 years old when I learned that my favorite basketball player -- nay, favorite ATHELETE entirely -- Drazen Petrovic was killed. It was in Europe, on the famous Autobahn, when it happened. I'll never forget, I was fixing a late night dinner in the kitchen and my mom was sleeping on the couch in the living room. I had AM 760 on in New York and the quarter-hourly 10-second update came on: "Drazen Petrovic was killed in a car accident on the Autobahn highway."

I went into complete shock. I turned the stove off and I slumped to the ground. All i could do was stare blankly ahead of me. After about 5 minutes, my brother came upstairs from his bedroom and said:

"John? Did you hear about Petrovic?"

I think I just numbly said "yeah" and continued to stare. At about that point my brother managed to make two completely insensitive remarks back-to-back.

"The Nets weren't gonna resign him anyway, he was gonna be gone no matter what. Did you hear the Giants got Michael Brooks?"

So, apparently, having my hero die was OK because he wasn't going to be a Net anyway? Scary.

When my mom overheard what my brother said about Petrovic she asked what happened, and my brother told her he was killed in a car accident. My mom, obviously concerned, called for me...I don't really remember what happened after that.

I took the next day off from school. Even friends knew why I had as they'd seen me in school with my Petrovic jersey on. It was entirely surreal -- much like the Darrent Williams murder.


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