It’s been more than a year since Davide Astori died, and yet some pretty awful “journalists” are still trying to generate clicks with his name. I’m referring to the recent round of rumors which arose earlier today and claimed that Fiorentina has recently offered a contract to pay the late player’s family his salary for the rest of the family’s life. I’m not linking to any of those stories here, because I refuse to support their efforts, but there’ve been dozens, if not hundreds, of similar stories all over the internet for the past 24 hours.
It seems that this story grew legs based off a story from a skeevy news aggregator in Spain. The original article cited no sources and offered no proof; it simply stated a lie as the truth. Naturally, a host of other outlets picked it up and similarly neglected to do anything resembling work to find out if what they were writing was based in fact or not. Instead, they saw a story with all the required viral elements—tragic death, young family, gracious gesture—and pressed down hard on the accelerator.
Let’s run down a few things here. First, were this story true, Fiorentina would have mentioned released some sort of statement, which they very much haven’t. Second, even if this operation were happening, it’s deeply unlikely that some Spanish website that nobody’s ever heard of would break the story ahead of anyone in Tuscany or Italy. Third, there’s no reason for the club to take this step more than a year after the captain’s death. Fourth, this rumor already took wing and plummeted to earth last March. Fifth, Fiorentina has already set up a trust fund that will support Astori’s partner and daughter.
Look, none of us are perfect reporters. Lord knows that Viola Nation has made some claims that were debunked rather painfully (and I’m generally the culprit on these, so feel free to pile on). It’s easy to fall into the trap of repeating whatever Twitter rumor you trip over, rubber-stamping it, and calling it a good day’s work.
But when that day’s work involves dragging out a family that is doubtless still grieving over an unimaginable loss, you’d damn well better get your facts right. If you don’t, you are, at best, a voyeur titillated by tragedy; at worst, you’re trying to profit off of someone’s personal grief, which means you are truly foul scavenger. I’m disgusted with this whole thing and with everyone involved. Happy goddamn Friday.