Two weeks before the one-year anniversary of Kobe and Gigi Bryant’s death, Vanessa Bryant made it clear that she did not anyone to talk in-depth about the helicopter crash that took their lives during tributes this week out of respect for her family.
Unfortunately, one media company went against Vanessa’s wishes and posted a tone-deaf tribute to Kobe and Gigi on social media.
On Tuesday afternoon, USA Today Sports thought it was a good idea to live tweet minute-by-minute details of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gigi, and seven others on that fateful morning.
USA Today Sports is live tweeting the details of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe, his daughter and 7 people and I just want to know who thought that was a great idea
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) January 26, 2021
Someone on the USA Today Sports social team came up with the idea that for the 1 year anniversary of Kobe’s death they should live tweet the helicopter crash.
THEY LITERALLY WENT FULL-ON 9/11 REMEMBRANCE, MINUTE BY MINUTE BREAKDOWN STYLE WITH IT pic.twitter.com/TiJPUFUqHc
— Mark Harris (@itismarkharris) January 26, 2021
USA Today Sports eventually deleted their Twitter thread after receiving intense backlash from fans.
you don't just come up with the idea to live-tweet a year-old helicopter crash on the fly.
this was a coordinated effort by people at USA Today Sports. they had undoubtedly meetings to plan this out. and no one spoke up to say it was stupid and tone deaf.
— Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) January 26, 2021
I see the USA Today Sports account made quite the choice in remembering Kobe.
— Derek James (@DerekJamesNBA) January 26, 2021
USA Today Sports huddling up for a group reading session at lunch today pic.twitter.com/LR75z1RIzz
— Cass Anderson (@casspa) January 26, 2021
USA Today Sports did exactly what Vanessa begged people not to do. Christ.
— Nia Symone (@NiaOnAir) January 26, 2021
USA Today went on to apologize for the series of deleted tweets.
Earlier tweets shared reporting about the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and 8 others. It was our intent to share new reporting around the day's timeline. Our tweets came with no warning or context. We took down those tweets and regret the insensitivity of the content.
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) January 26, 2021