I’m going to write about something I never write about: football. In Philadelphia, the Eagles are having an abysmal season and their coach, Andy Reid, will most certainly lose his job at the end of it. Reid’s eldest son, Garrett, also died this year of a drug overdose at the Eagles training facility. In addition to heroin, Garrett was found to have illegal steroids in his system. This is big news in Philadelphia.
Why am I writing about this?
Phil Sheridan, The Inqurier’s sports columnist, who I genuinely respect for his insight into baseball, wrote a column that was beyond a low blow. Garrett, was not only the son of his father, but also an assistant on the Eagles’ strength and conditioning staff. He had a long history of drug addiction that included an arrest and jail sentence. Garrett was a very troubled teen that turned into an addicted man who ultimately died.
On the day that he lost his life, Garrett was found to have 47 syringes and 64 needles along with four different kinds of anabolic steroids. There is no evidence that he injected players with steroids. Players are tested randomly four times a year. And what’s also clear is that these steroids did not include human growth hormone or “masking” agents; the kind similar to what Barry Bonds and Lance Armstrong have been accused of taking.
Should the coach’s son have been near professional athletes in the NFL with steroids?
Probably not. That’s a given.
Should a Philly sports columnist write this:
But the issue isn’t Garrett Reid’s judgment. It is the Eagles’ judgment.
Andy Reid took a risk to try to save his son. His son repaid him with another mess, this one too big to clean up. That’s the deal with addicts. They will lie and cover up and take advantage of every weakness. Worst of all, they turn love into the ultimate weakness.
The situation speaks to the state of the Eagles organization over the last few years. Reid had become so entrenched and so powerful, no one seemed capable of questioning his judgment or challenging his decisions.
If there ever was a Golden God, it has to be a football player. These guys can do no wrong. When they shoot their girlfriends, leaving a child both motherless and fatherless, they are not labeled as murderers. The team, in fact, pays for their funeral. When a father loses a son to addiction, shame on him for putting his troubled son near these specimens of perfection.
I could call my daughter a writing “assistant.” It doesn’t mean she had authority or injects me with my daily dose of Diet Coke to get through the day. And, more importantly, maybe the column that should have been written is this: It’s Probably Time to Leave Football instead of Heaping Pile of Judgement, Millionaire Athletes Tempted by Absolutely Nothing.
I can’t even take the comments on the piece seriously because Philly.com is notorious for its Wild, Wild West version of commenting. Everything flies including racism, sexism and crass stupidity. With the New York Times I marvel at the thoughtful discussions that happen over there, but that’s not Philly.com.
Back to Reid; who has been incredibly open and candid about Garrett’s addiction and how they tried not supporting him, supporting him, rehab, and the 50 million other things many families do to help someone they love. The Reids were no different.
Sheridan went out of his way to point out the ridiculous and cruel: Garrett left his father with a mess on purpose. That’s what addicts do.
Garrett Reid is at rest. With his final acts, he made sure there can be no rest for his father.
Yes, Garrett really stuck it to his dad! Who is the editor over there at The Inky that let this shit fly? Addiction is just that addiction. And football is just what it sounds like: a game and a job. Reid has overstayed his welcome, but his son’s death had nothing to do with power or formations. The Golden Gods have not been harmed.
But thanks for clearing up exactly what’s important in football: winning at any cost. Even between father and son.