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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

The proper way to remember Tom Kowalski

Fans and Friends are invited to remember MLive/Booth Newspapers Lions beat writer Tom "Killer" Kowalski at a public memorial at Cheli's Chili in Detroit at noon Friday. But how will he be remembered during the football season?
Commemorative patches and stickers permeate pro sports. The Tigers are wearing one in honor of hall of fame manager Sparky Anderson. The collar of Pistons jerseys have recently been emblazoned with "Mr. D." The Red Wings wore a "VK+SM" patch through the 1997-98 season after a post-Cup celebration ended in tragedy. The Lions wore a "61" sticker after Mike Utley was paralyzed on the field.
It's time for the Lions to wear another. This time to remember Kowalski, who died Monday at 51. The outpouring of emotion was all over the news that evening and the residual feelings are still being felt on social media.
I took some flak from sports editor Jeff Kuehn when I suggested via Twitter at 11:30 p.m. Monday:
"Is it unprecedented for a team to wear a commemorative patch for a beat writer?"
The next day, I saw a tweet from another fan request a retweet to get the Lions to commemorate the writer they called "Killer."
Today came news from Pro Football Talk that Facebook fan page has been started to petition the Lions to wear a commemorative patch this season. The proposed design isn't intrusive, a simple "TK" in the distressed font already used on Lions jerseys.
Columnist Pat Caputo has an idea: Name the Ford Field press box after Kowalski and other legendary beat writers.
"It would be like taking a page out of the Lions' play book when they retired the jersey No. 20 for Lem Barney, Billy Sims and Barry Sanders," he writes.
Either honor sets a precedent I would be proud to one day be remembered by.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flak comes and goes with the territory. For that matter, even if the Lions acknowledged TK with a commemorative patch -- it would be gone next year too. If you want to truly honor his memory for years to come, just keep calling em like you see em. He did. John Leach

September 5, 2011 at 8:16 PM 

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