Former football executive Gil Brandt issued an apology after coming under fire for remarks he made about Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who was killed Saturday when he was hit by a dump truck.
Shortly after news broke about Haskins’ death, Brandt appeared on SiriusXM’s NFL channel.
When asked to speak about Haskins, Brandt described him as “a guy that was living to be dead, so to speak.”
“You know, they told him don’t under any circumstances leave school early,” he added. “What’d he do? Left school early.”
Brandt went on to give examples that seemed intended to demonstrate a history of bad behavior. He told an anecdote about how Haskins had hosted his own post-draft party at a bowling alley and charged $50 for admission. “It was always something, you know?”
He suggested that the accident, which occurred when Haskins was attempting to cross a Florida state highway, traced back to his decision to join the Washington Commanders in 2019 his junior year of college. “It’s a tragic thing, anytime anyone dies it’s tragic, especially when you’re 24 years old, you got your whole life ahead of you,” Brandt said. “But maybe if you just stayed in school a year he wouldn’t do silly things [like] jogging on a highway.”
It didn’t take long for his comments to circulate on social media, drawing angry reactions. Not long after, Brandt issued an apology.
“This morning while learning of Dwayne Haskins’ passing, I reacted carelessly and insensitively on a radio interview,” Brandt wrote on Twitter. “I want to apologize to Mr. Haskins’ family and anyone who heard my poor choice of words. I truly apologize. My heart goes out to his family at this difficult time.”
Haskins, 24, was training with the Steelers at the time of his death. The third-string quarterback signed to the team in 2021 after two seasons with the Commanders and a third-place finish for the Heisman Trophy during his sophomore year at Ohio State University in 2018.
Many of his former and fellow players tweeted their condolences in the wake of his passing, remembering him as a “great teammate” and a “tremendous friend to so many,” as Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement.