COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A headline about the performance of Gamecocks’ quarterback Ryan Hilinski in the print version of The State newspaper sparked controversy among its readers.
Hilinski struggled in week 3 against Missouri and the paper ran the headline: “Hilinski Hope Sinks.”
Hilinski’s family started a foundation called Hilinski’s Hope after Ryan’s brother, Tyler, died by suicide. The foundation seeks to raise awareness about mental health issues and erase the stigma associated with it.
UofSC leaders responded to the headline Sunday with the following statement:
“Hilinski’s Hope means so much to the Hilinski family, their friends, Gamecock Nation, college football fans across the country and those who have been affected by someone suffering from mental illness. We were appalled to see this morning’s headline in The State newspaper that seemed cavalier about the seriousness of the mental health issue. It demonstrated a level of unprofessional and irresponsible journalism, and we find it unacceptable that the major daily newspaper in the hometown of our University would use such a headline in their game story. We don’t believe their apology is enough. We urge The State to be a leader in advocating and destigmatizing mental illness by making a very public effort to help fund and provide educational awareness to this very real problem.”
The statement was signed by UofSC president Bob Caslen, Athletics Director Ray Tanner and head football coach Will Muschamp.
The State issued an apology on social media after the paper came out:
Just last week, Hilinski was named SEC Freshman of the Week for his performance against Alabama.
During that game, fans held up three fingers at the start of the third quarter to draw attention to mental health issues and raise awareness about Hilinski’s Hope on a national level.
When Tyler Hilinski played football, his number was 3, and Ryan now wears the same number in his brother’s honor.