Vanessa Bryant and her three surviving children, Bianka, Natalia, and Capri, suffered a tremendous loss on Sunday when a helicopter carrying Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna, tragically crashed in Calabasas. But, to make the situation even more painful, the basketball legend’s widow is being subjected to inaccurate reports about everything from the crash to supposed choices the family made surrounding their travel methods of choice. The Bryant family issued a statement this week expressing their disappointment in how the media has twisted the truth, and how it has only compounded their enormous grief.
“We are disappointed in some media’s broad use of unnamed sources and blind quotes, and remind everyone that the Bryant family will speak on our own behalf when appropriate,” Molly Carter, president of Kobe Inc., said in a statement given to the LA Times
“To this point, no one has been authorized to speak on behalf of the family regarding any personal details surrounding Sunday’s tragedy, including stories related to the family’s previous air travel decisions,” Carter said. “We ask members of the media for respect and responsible judgment during this difficult time. These inaccurate reports only add unnecessary pain to a grieving family.”
While they didn’t specify which outlets or specific stories they were referring to, one People story that attracted major attention claimed that Kobe and Vanessa had made a conscious decision not fly together.
“It’s not necessarily because you are concerned something will happen, it’s just a precaution,” the source supposedly told the magazine. “A lot of couples with children make plans that are in the best interest of their children. It was the same for Kobe and Vanessa.”
The “source” added, “The decision to not fly together was not fear-based. It was a decision that they made because they felt it was the best for their family. As very family-focused parents, they always considered what was best for the children. This is why Kobe started flying in the first place. He wanted to make sure he could work and be the best dad possible.”
On Wednesday, Vanessa broke her silence about the horrific accident, sharing a sweet tribute to her husband and little girl on Instagram.
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time,” she wrote. “Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.”
On Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers, the team Bryant played for his entire 20-year NBA career, will play their first game since his death. Coach Frank Vogel told CNN they will hold a tribute for him.
There is also a Change.org petition for Kobe to become the new NBA logo, and it currently has over 3 million signatures.