| News |

Caleb Moore's X-Games death: ESPN's Tony Kornheiser thinks snowmobile event should end

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Yesterday's death of snowmobiler Caleb Moore as the result of a crash at the X-Games in Aspen has led to grief on the part of his family and friends, as well as debate about his sport of choice.

Among the most prominent critics of the event: Tony Kornheiser of ESPN, the network that sponsors the X-Games.

After Moore passed away yesterday morning, ESPN issued the following statement:

We are deeply saddened by Caleb Moore's passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, Wade and Michelle, his brother, Colten, and the entire Moore family. He will be remembered for his natural passion for life and his deep love for his family and friends, and he will always be an inspiration to everyone he touched in the action sports community.

As a result of this accident we will conduct a thorough review of this discipline and adopt any appropriate changes to future X Games.

For 18 years we have worked closely on safety issues with athletes, course designers and other experts. Still, when the world's best compete at the highest level in any sport, risks remain. Caleb was a four-time X Games medalist attempting a move he has landed several times previously.

As you can see, the network is trying to have it both ways in the comment -- promising an investigation of the snowmobile competition, but suggesting that the dangers associated with the X-Games are similar to those in other sports -- and adding that the trick that severely injured and later killed him (he came off the snowmobile, which then landed on him) was nothing out of the ordinary.

Kornheiser isn't buying it, though, despite collecting a hefty ESPN paycheck. While other segments about Moore on the network yesterday mostly stuck to eulogizing, with frequent mentions of the statement above, the discussion about the topic between Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon on yesterday's edition of Pardon the Interruption was harder hitting. Kornheiser argued that snowmobiles simply aren't designed to fly through the air in the way the competition demands, likening the result to stunts like jumping a motorcycle over a row of buses. Moreover, he feels the potential problems are only compounded by the requirement that riders leave the snowmobile's seat to do twists, turns and more.

Wilbon didn't echo these observations, bringing up examples such as divers who die or are severely injured when they hit their head on the board after an acrobatic maneuver. But Kornheiser stood firm, saying flatly that since "ESPN owns that event," the network should "get rid of this competition."

Will the network do so? Doubtful -- but with even in-house pundits like Kornheiser arguing for such action, major changes could be in the offing.

Look below to see one of Moore's final interviews, standing alongside brother Colten, who also suffered an injury (he separated his pelvis) during the X-Games.

More from our Sports archive: "Caleb Moore dies after X-Games crash in Aspen, first casualty in event's history."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.