Two days ago, in “The Search for Records in Dave Duerson’s ‘Meticulously Executed’ Suicide,” I wrote about my first contacts with Florida police agencies.
Later in the day I received my first batch of documents, from the city clerk of Sunny Isles Beach. As Miami-Dade Police Department Sergeant Theodore Sayre had predicted, these records are mostly perfunctory. At this time I am not going to post them, because that would be sheer TMZ. I may feel differently after new information gives them sharper context.
I have asked Major Rey Valdes, the MDPD officer responding to my public information request, for a breakdown of those Duerson case documents that currently are and are not ready for release. As I told Valdes, I do not think a blanket and indefinite hold on the whole file, simply because parts of it retain clerical loose ends, meets the spirit or the letter of public information law.
To the list of media types who haven’t returned my messages, you can add Rick Telander, sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times. With Paul Solotaroff, Telander co-authored the article about Duerson this spring in Men’s Journal magazine. In contrast with the loopy “oral history project” interview excerpt by Rob Trucks, which Deadspin published with a still-unclarified provenance, the Telander-Solotaroff piece was excellent. It discussed the controversy over Duerson’s membership on the National Football League retirement and disability plan board even as the four walls of his own life were closing in on him. That those writers took away a slightly gentler conclusion from the suicide than I do was both their right and entirely appropriate for a respectful obituary profile.
As I’ve told Telander, I question only one aspect of the Men’s Journal article: the idea that Duerson’s suicide was “meticulously executed.” Though it may have been, and they quote Miami-Dade detectives to that effect, the word pairing is vague and it smacks of absolutionist hype. The public records to which I have had access so far do not confirm a description of meticulousness. Nor – let’s face it – is there really any such thing. I hope Telander, who obviously knows a lot more about Duerson than I do, will get back to me so we can discuss this further.