Many of us are still in shock and disbelief about the tragic and mystifying death of Bob Woolmer last weekend. But what has shocked me far more has been the nature of the press coverage since the police confirmed that his death was murder last Thursday.
Prior to the Police statement, there was much conjecture on internet forums, in the press and among cricket fans on the street as to what had happened, combined with the sadness we all felt and the hope that the post-death necessities would be carried out quickly for the sake of the Woolmer family. The journalists were doing their level best, as is their job, to discover what the police were actually looking into regarding the death; not surprising when considering the length of time the police were taking to produce specific information for the public.
However, since the statement has been published the media have gone bananas with innuendo, muck-raking and irrelevant sensationalism.
Much of it involves Bob himself: Woolmer was writing a book, Woolmer was not in charge of the team, Woolmer had no support from the PCB, Woolmer may have been drinking on medication. This kind of coverage serves no purpose other than to feed the giant monster of conspiracy that is rampaging all over the cricket world, paticularly in the sub-continent. Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, it maligns the memory of a decent and universally respected man.
The second prong of nonsense on the media fork since last Thursday has been corruption. There has been hundreds of thousands of words written and spoken on the subject in the last week and I can summarise all the coverage here in one sentence: Some people think it still goes on, we have no idea how or by who. Yet this flimsiest of arguments seems to inform all the thinking on the murder of Bob Woolmer.
Is it too much to ask that the media stick to the fact that a man has been killed, it would seem by someone known to him, and the police are investigating all possibilities? Probably so, and I suppose the media are simply giving people what they want. But I feel sad that Bob Woolmer's alleged weaknesses and problems are now being aired in public, from the most unsubstantial platform of evidence, whilst the man is no longer around to defend his reputation.