October 11, 2007, - 1:57 pm

Mystery: Dig One Up for The Gipper?

By Debbie Schlussel
The great Ronald Reagan’s most well-known role was as Notre Dame’s George Gipp in “Knute Rockne, All American.” The dying Gipp, an All-American football star, was the inspiration for the slogan Coach Rockne employed to encourage his players:

Win One For The Gipper.

Now, the real life Gipp–who died from pneumonia and strep in his senior year in 1920–has been dug up. And no-one knows why. According to AP, the body was exhumed for DNA testing at the request of some Gipp family members, while other family are upset by the exhumation. ESPN was there to film it.
What could relatives possibly want with a body that has decayed for 87 years? They’re not saying. It’s very strange:

georgegipp.jpg

George Gipp: Put Notre Dame on the College Football Map

[Houghton County Medical Examiner Dr. Dawn] Nulf referred a reporter to Mike Bynum, a sports author who has researched Gipp and attended the exhumation. Bynum said it was requested by Rick Frueh, whose grandmother was one of Gipp’s sisters.
“This is a very sensitive family matter,” said Bynum, of Birmingham, Ala., who described himself as a close friend of Gipp’s closest living relatives. He said they did not want to comment but would issue a statement in the future. . . .
Ron Gipp, a distant cousin of George Gipp who lives in Laurium, told The Daily Mining Gazette of Houghton he watched the exhumation and described it as a “a desecration.”
“It’s absolutely ridiculous and uncalled for,” Karl Gipp, another distant cousin who lives in Skanee, told the Gazette.

Not knowing the legal basis for this strange event, I agree. It’s hard to imagine why someone would want to dig up a body 87 years later, when there was no foul play in the death and there are no trust and estate or inheritance issues.
What do you think is going on here?

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9 Responses

Cloning experiment??

hockeykevin on October 11, 2007 at 2:14 pm

Although they denied any involvment, I would lay odds that ESPN has something to do with this. Why would they (ESPN) be privy to the exhuming of the body? I know Notre Dame is having a lousy season, but this surely couldn’t be some kind of a motivator would it? As bizzare as it sounds, I wouldn’t put it past the slobs in the Entertainment/Sports industry.

Rich B on October 11, 2007 at 2:26 pm

DNA testing–
It’s either about money–some one thinks they are related and wants some claim to the Gipp legacy (or the family wants to put that idea to bed for good) or…
to see whether the Gipp’s have some gene that deals with some congenital health concern that George may have had.

BB on October 11, 2007 at 3:27 pm

Chicago is looking for a replacement for Rex Grossman?
Sorry that was tasteless. But I’d bet most people in chicago would prefer Knute in his current state over Grossman in his.

dm60462 on October 11, 2007 at 6:33 pm

It’s possible that a relative may be frightened about a serious genetic disease, or inherited vulnerability to disease, and wants to pinpoint who among the extended family carries that trait. Just as a wild guess, somebody might be investigating the possibility of primary (i.e., genetic) immune deficiency. Especially back in the days before antibiotics, that could have left the Gipper vulnerable to death from respiratory infection at an early age.

1389 on October 11, 2007 at 8:21 pm

It’s possible that a relative may be frightened about a serious genetic disease, or inherited vulnerability to disease, and wants to pinpoint who among the extended family carries that trait. Just as a wild guess, somebody might be investigating the possibility of primary (i.e., genetic) immune deficiency. Especially back in the days before antibiotics, that could have left the Gipper vulnerable to death from respiratory infection at an early age.

1389 on October 11, 2007 at 8:22 pm

Debbie maybe ND’s POS football team is looking for some Gipper sperm to father the recruiting class of 2025?

Anonymous1 on October 11, 2007 at 11:47 pm

Follow the money, honey, and you’ll find out why.

Bill Petty on October 12, 2007 at 11:47 am

I’ll bet some guy or gal is alleging the Gipper fathered a child out of wedlock and is entitled to income that may generate from use of his name or likeness. Or, simply, the relatives have their panties in a bunch over the claim. Let’s protect the Gipper’s reputation by digging up his remains! Insane.

code7 on October 12, 2007 at 9:02 pm

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