Friday, November 14, 2008

Tennessee has it in for Bill Bates

Remember Bill Bates?

He was the Tennessee player famously run over by Hershel Walker who went from undrafted free agent to special teams dynamo and one-time Pro Bowler for the Dallas Cowboys (that second link is definitely worth a watch).

Bates was a fan favorite with both teams, which makes the fact that the UT journalism school's news Web site wants him dead surprising.

The cleverly-named Tennessee Journalist held two stories on its site, four days apart, both claiming Bates was dead.

The stories are now 404'd, but that magical 'cached' link on Google saves the day.
Story 1: Published Oct. 24, Bates dies in a plane crash en route to giving a motivational speech in Kansas, complete with quotes from former teammates.
Story 2: Four days later, Bates' wife confirms he died in Rome, Italy, but he apparently also died of a heart attack in Texas while riding a horse (near bottom of story). Merrill Hoge gives a touching remembrance quote.

Outside of the obvious major factual differences between the two stories (the second one even puts different ages in the headline and first paragraph) there's another big problem.

Bill Bates isn't dead. Not even a little. He even owns a Cowboy Ranch.

Clearly, things aren't going well in Knoxville right now. Two weeks ago, the Vols gave coach Phil Fulmer the axe and they're trying to kill off Bates.

Watch your back, Peyton Manning.


  1. Bill Bates is NOT dead, this I know. I am a sophomore student at the University of Tennessee. For our Journalism 200 class, we were given a list of celebrity alumni, of whom we were supposed to write MOCK obituaries for. Our professor insured us that these were mock stories that would only be up for her to review, not to be released. This was our way to practice web format for stories. I apologize for any confusion.

  2. Well, pardon me for saying so, but your teacher is an idiot.
    It still shows up in Google searches and the cached link works.
    Why not do an obituary for an ACTUAL dead person instead of making up quotes from friends and family?
    His kids had to put up messages on Facebook to assure people their dad was alive earlier this week because people saw your articles.