I get why people are so outraged by the comments made Monday by a Kansas City radio host who linked Tyreek Hill’s off-the-field issues with the death seven years ago of Andy Reid’s son Garrett.
The guy tried to make a case that Big Red’s inability to be a strict disciplinarian as both a parent and a coach was responsible for both.
“It did not work out particularly well in his family life,“ is what Kevin Kietzman of Sports Radio 810 WHB said. “He’s had a lot of things go bad on him, family and players. He is not good at fixing people. He is not good at discipline.”
Here's Kevin Kietzman dragging Andy Reid's name through the muck. Truly disgusting audio. Cut him from 810 NOW, ban him for LIFE from American radio. pic.twitter.com/nYPVM2ua6K— 76 Sent (@ClayWendler) June 24, 2019
Of course, these sort of remarks are irresponsible, hurtful and off-base. But you consider the source and they're probably not all that surprising.
And let's be honest. We all understand you don’t record the eighth-most wins of any NFL head coach in history and the seventh-most playoff wins without being able to discipline players when it’s necessary. We’ve all seen coaches who truly are bad at this stuff, and they don’t have three losing seasons in 20 years. They don’t last three years.
So yeah, this isn’t about that. Andy doesn’t need to be defended. Not about this.
And outrage distracts us from the real point. The real shame of Kietzman’s comments is that he connects a lack of discipline with heroin addiction.
Garrett Reid, Andy’s oldest son, died during training camp in Bethlehem seven years ago from a heroin overdose after a long battle with addiction, and the notion that his death somehow was the result of his father not disciplining him enough shows such a lack of understanding of addiction and substance abuse.
Addiction is a mental health disorder. It’s a disease.
It’s not a weakness. It’s not a character flaw. It’s not a lack of discipline.
Treatment can help, but it’s a long and difficult process. The changes substance abuse cause in a person’s brain, the addictive traits of heroin and other opioids, make recovery difficult and in some cases impossible.
Garrett was a good kid, a smart kid, and he and his family battled his addiction for years.
Here’s part of Andy’s statement the evening Garrett died:
“We understood that Garrett's long-standing battle with addiction was going to be difficult. He will, however, always have our family's love and respect for the courage he showed in trying to overcome it.”
This guy doesn’t know Andy and the battle he and his family fought to try and help Garrett through that battle.
Addiction and substance abuse have become such an epidemic in our communities. Big city. Small town. Everywhere. All of us know someone who’s lost a family member. All of us have either directly or indirectly felt that pain.
What Kietzman said is wrong in so many ways, but worst of all is how he trivializes addiction by implying that a little parental discipline would have saved Garrett Reid’s life.
This was a horrible thing to say for a lot of reasons, and it’s been nice to see so many of Andy’s former players rallying behind him on social media.
No parents should have to go through what Andy and his family went through seven summers ago at Lehigh. No parents should have to go through this either.
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