Andy Reid somehow went to work today. He somehow went to work just 24 hours after burying his oldest son, Garrett, who apparently lost a battle with drug addiction.
He tried to steer the conversation toward football. When he took the podium, he thanked the team, media and fans for the outpouring of support, which he said was humbling (a word he used a lot). After that, he listed the injuries and then, as usual, handed time over to the media.
Sitting at my computer, I cringed as this ball of unfortunate was now in the hands of one of the most overzealous groups of reporters in sports. For the most part, though, the questions hurled at Reid – all but one was related to Garrett – were fair and respectful. There were two WTFs that we’ll get to a minute, but here's some of what an emotioinal Reid said. Context isn’t needed.
“Alright. I’m a humble man standing before you. Very humble man. I’m humble because of the outpouring. Not only from the media, but from our football team, the fans. It was unbelievable. Unbelievable. I’m not sure you ever think that many people care, not that you go in that direction, but it’s a very humbling feeling, and I know my soon would feel the same. I think that’s about all I can say on that part and keep all that together.”
“It’s a sad situation. It’s one that my son’s been battling for a number of years. Our family’s been battling. That doesn’t mean you stop loving your son. That’s not what you do. So, you love them. I know a lot of families deal with this type of thing and, you know, it’s just a sad situation. Sad situation. On the other part of that, I praise my heavenly father of the support and the strength he’s given me to be able to work through this, and my family and my football family. That includes the National Football League, includes everybody in the National Football League [Roger Goodell, Bill Belichick, Mike Holmgren and many others from around the league were at Garrett’s funeral yesterday]. Includes you guys and ladies [in the media]. I know coming back and coaching is the right thing to do. I know my son wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”
“So, with that, I move on and we’ll talk about the injuries.”
“Those earthly emotions that you have, you deal with those. So you deal with the good and the bad. You remember the smiles, you remember the cries. So you deal with that. That’s part of life, you know? That’s part of life. I always tell the players, there are kind of four things you go about in life and how you approach it. One of them is eliminating distractions, the other one is creating energy. You fear nothing and you attack everything. That’s kind of how you go about life. Life’s going to throw you curveballs, you understand that. All of us. And you’re not going to bail. You’re going to stand in there and you’re going to keep swinging. And I think that’s very important.”
“Garrett’s always been that way since he was a kid. If there was a kid with a problem, he was always putting his arm around that kid and taking care of them. He cared about people and he just got caught up in a bad situation, man. Just terrible situation that effects a lot of people in this country. It’s like fighting a grizzly bear. It’s hard to win. It’s hard to win that.”
There was much more from Reid, who answered many questions relating to how he was dealing with the situation. His voice cracked a few times (as you can see in the video), but he kept it together. He kept it together even when an idiot(s?) asked him the following questions:
In the statement, you talk about the long, eight-year struggle your family had been through with Garrett and concluded he had lost his battle to this demon of drug addiction. Where do you get that information from? Is that from the coroner or somebody else in authority?
Reid: “Well listen, I’m not going to get into all that. I’m going to let all that takes its course. I mentioned what I mentioned.”
I’m not sure who, on the day after a father buries his son, with whom he was seemingly quite close, asks a question about where he got the information about the death from. I get that a concrete answer is needed to report something accurately, but questioning a father about his source on the cause of his son’s death is beyond offensive. It’s also very stupid.
Next, from what sounded like the same person, but I’m not sure at this point:
Andy, you often look at good things that sometimes arise out of tragedies like this [editor’s note: good point, we’ll assume he’s going in the direction of speaking out against drugs or Garrett’s death being a scared-straight situation for Britt Reid, who also has had his struggles with drugs] … do you feel this might somehow become a rallying point for the team? When things are tough, do it for Garrett?
Fuck. No. He went the other way. He asked a win-one-for-Garrett question three days after Reid's son just died. Amazing.
I have a guess as to who asked that question and the other one, but I won’t speculate. Andy, however, should never answer a question from the person again. It was dumb, unnecessary and highly offensive. Rallying point? What the fuck is wrong with you? That’s the greatest positive to take out of this– winning some football games? Not bringing Reid’s family closer together, helping others who’ve battled addiction, or something else, you know, meaningful? Unbelievable.
Anyway, Reid never wavered. He answered every question, at times struggling to keep it together, and went back to work.