Premature Absolution

>> Sunday

Far be it for me to question the merits or the motives of another man because God knows I'm neither perfect nor anything near it.

But my shocking revelation that I'm not, in fact, infalable arrives with a bit of criticism, nonetheless.

I'm not Andy Reid. Nor am I father. Nor am I an NFL coach trying in vain to be both an NFL coach and an attentive father. I have no right and no business criticizing the way he's raised his kids, and I'm not going to do that. I don't think anyone should. The harsh reality of being a parent is that so much of a child's well-being and actions are beyond a parent's control.

We also shouldn't criticize the decision of a father to accept an NFL head coaching position. Given the chance, could any of us pass up the offer? Wouldn't we all believe, naively, that we could handle the position without neglecting, or even sacrificing, the highest pursuits of parenthood?

In that vein, I'd like to believe that Andy Reid is an excellent father. I'd like to believe that, despite the rigors of an NFL schedule and sickening demands of NFL coaches, he has done his best to support his sons and raise them to be good people.

But here's my issue:

I think it's short-sided and unfair to Reid's sons that just about every mainstream NFL analyst (Sean Salisbury, John Madden, et al) have so quickly cloaked Reid with praise and written off his role in the recent legal troubles that his boys have faced. I'm not at all convinced that their knowledge of Andy Reid's personal life nor of parental psychology justifies this immediate judgment. Granted, I don't expect Misters Madden and Salisbury to be mouthpieces for the latest revelations of parent-child dynamics, but I do think it's irresponsible for guys like them to say, "I know him; he's a good guy; he knows what he's doing; I don't think these accusations are fair."

After all, these are other "football men." The problem is, football men are all sort of wired the same. What they see as Andy Reid's successes are likely what Andy Reid sees as successes. What they see--or don't see--as Reid's failings probably reflect Reid's own perspective. Unfortunately for Reid, the outside world doesn't always agree with you or with the like-minded people that support you. Sometimes, the outside world sees what you missed and forces you to take some blame.

If I were Andy Reid, I wouldn't have resigned from my job either. It would've resolved nothing, hurt his colleagues, and served as admission to something that he need not admit. Good men don't quit things they are good at for PR reasons. They don't cave in to knee-jerk reactions of concerned parent groups.

All I'm saying is that the John Maddens and Sean Salisburys have as little right absolving Andy Reid as his detractors have condemning him. And I think that's something they should keep in mind before they start talking into that mic.


Nathan 5:33 PM  

It depends on what they say, exactly. If they're absolving Reid of all blame, they have no place to do so. If they are defending him against equally unfair criticism, I have no problem with that.

Premature, unqualified response: "Andy Reid deserves no blame."

Absolutely fair response:
"The blind criticism of Andy Reid is unfair."

Nathan 5:34 PM  

Point is, this is a story that no one need comment on. But the sports media cannot abstain from something so juicy.

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