Pete Hellman was supposed to celebrate his 32nd birthday this week, but the Lakeview native will instead be buried after he was Mel Kipered to death during ESPN’s coverage of the 2006 NFL draft.
“Pete had been following the draft chatter for weeks,” said Bob Jackson, Hellman’s best friend. “He must have been subjected to 70 or 80 hours of Mel Kiper during that stretch. All that analysis finally caught up to him on Saturday. It was horrible.”
According to paramedics at the scene, Hellman suffered a Kiper-induced brain aneurism when the ESPN draft expert spent six straight minutes explaining why Ohio State’s A.J. Hawk is a perfect fit for any team in need of a quick, strong linebacker.
“It didn’t have to be this way,” said Tom Hellman, the victim’s cousin. “One minute he’s sitting on the couch hoping the Bears select a defensive back, the next minute his brain ruptures. And for what? So Mel Kiper can comment on every single pick in the first four rounds? Why couldn’t they just put someone else on, or go to commercial break?”
When asked to comment on Hellman’s death, Kiper was somber in his response.
“Hellman could have made a great impact as a family man someday,” said Kiper. “He had a good job, a hard work ethic and all the intangibles. Unfortunately, he went out too early. It’s a common problem these days.”
Kiper referred all questions to ESPN’s PR team, who only would say incidents of viewers being Mel Kipered to death were very common.