I noted this on Twitter earlier Friday, but I don't want the day to end without bringing to everyone's attention the classy and generous memorial the Detroit Lions have set up for longtime beat writer Tom "Killer" Kowalski, who died Monday.
During a public celebration of Kowalski's life Friday, Lions president Tom Lewand announced the Lions will re-name their press room after Kowalski. They will set up a scholarship in Kowalski's name and will donate a portion of their concessions proceeds from their first home game, Sept. 18 against the Kansas City Chiefs, to charities that he supported.
Meanwhile, according to the Lions, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell donated $1,000 toward Kowalski's favorite charities as well.
The NFL and its teams regularly perform charitable acts, but it's worth noting the unique relationship between teams and the beat writers who cover them. Team policies and the mission of a beat writer create natural and inevitable conflict. For the Lions to take the measures they did speaks to how Kowalski transcended that struggle and earned the respect of a team that by definition would have liked him to do his job a little differently.
I know many of you were supporting an online petition to have the Lions place a commemorative decal on their helmets. But I think what they did is more appropriate. Decals are reserved for members of the team family. Beat writers are by nature outsiders, and I think Killer would be the first to tell you that.
I will say this, however: I'll be honored the next time I walk into Tom Kowalski Press Lounge.
Note: The Lions posted a photo gallery of Friday's memorial.