RIP, Vernon Forrest

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↵It's getting to be something of a macabre broken record: another week, another young former athlete killed under violent circumstances. The frequency doesn't dull the shock or pain; it's not something to get used to. ↵

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↵Today, we mourn the loss of Vernon Forrest, a former WBA champion who was just 37 years old. Of the myriad tragedies that have struck the sporting world, Forrest's may be the most senseless yet, as the underlying cause appears to be nothing but greed: ↵

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↵⇥Police say former boxing champion Vernon Forrest has been shot and killed in an apparent robbery. ↵⇥

↵⇥Atlanta Police Sgt. Lisa Keyes said in an e-mail Sunday that Forrest may have been robbed and was shot "multiple times in the back" Saturday night in Atlanta. ↵⇥

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↵According to ESPN's Dan Rafael, though, the story gets even worse: ↵

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↵⇥He was shot seven or eight times as he chased at least two men who had tried to steal his Jaguar as he put air in his tires at an Atlanta gas station, Lt. Keith Meadows said, according to the radio station. ↵⇥

↵⇥But Forrest had a gun and confronted the men, police said. ↵⇥

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↵⇥"The victim and suspect became involved in a brief foot chase," Meadows said. "At some point, gunfire was exchanged between the two of them. The victim was shot at least once in the head." ↵⇥

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↵The natural tendency of the mind is to draw comparisons and connections between Forrest's death and Steve McNair or Arturo Gatti. In my mind, that's a mistake. Yes, they're all retired athletes who met violent, untimely ends (we should note, of course, that coroners have not ruled out suicide for Gatti) within a short time of each other, but there the similarities effectively end. ↵

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↵One man had an affair go bad. Another apparently struggled through a marriage. The last was carjacked in a situation where too many people were armed. But for the close proximity of time and their former professions, nobody would think to draw connection between any of the three. ↵

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↵In fact, it almost seems disrespectful to the memory of Forrest to draw him into a larger picture of other peoples' tragedies. The circumstances of his killing are, to say the least, just as sad on their own merits as Forrest's career was brilliant on its own merits. He doesn't need to be dragged into a "Athletes Dying Too Soon" narrative; he should be remembered as the champion, the Olympian, and the man who rocked the world of "the best pound-for-pound" fighter in 2002, "Sugar" Shane Mosley. ↵

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↵Rest in peace, Vernon Forrest. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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