Andy Reid burying a child … how about cutting the guy a break?

Anyone who has a husband, wife, son, daughter, uncle, aunt or cousin – or a friend who has suffered with the demons of addiction – can certainly understand a little about what Eagles Coach Andy Reid has gone through lately.

Since the troubles of his two sons became public a few years back, Reid has become a very public face of a parent trying to navigate through the addiction of a loved one. He and his wife actually did an interview with Philadelphia Magazine where they talked about the troubles of both of their older sons, what it had done to their family, how it affected Andy’s job as an NFL head coach. After all, being an NFL coach is tough enough without having the pain and trouble that goes along with two sons in trouble with the law as well as battling their addiction issues.

Well, the news broke this weekend that Andy’s oldest son Garrett had been found dead in his dorm room up at Lehigh where the team does its pre-season work. There was no foul play, no suicide note, just the quiet acknowledgement that drugs likely played a role. No one knows yet but that hasn’t stopped the speculation. And probably for good reason.

However what I have found sickening is the preachy attitude people have taken against Reid. The comments on this newspaper’s website as well as those of many of the sites I read in the past 24 hours or so. People seem to forget that nothing Andy Reid has done or not done caused the death of his oldest kid. In fact, as an NFL coach it seemed that he and his wife along with the rest of the Reid family had done plenty to help both Garrett and Brit deal with their addictions. Reid’s very religious nature would seem to indicate that despite what you think of him as a football coach, as a dad he did whatever he could and wasn’t the kind of guy who ignored the problems. He may have been duped a little by his kids but which parent out there hasn’t? And if you say you haven’t duped, well, then you’re just lying or you’re still being duped.

As someone whose family and even extended family has seen its share of addiction issues over the decades, it’s a nasty disease that can ruin someone’s life. It’s a lifelong battle that takes every ounce of courage and fight. And Reid seems to be the kind of guy who was willing to wage the fight, supporting his sons along the way.

However, some people just don’t understandHere’s a small sampling of the comments on the Daily Local News Facebook page:

– “That’s what happens when you do drugs”

– “The DLN is basically saying they don’t want any real opinions, just condolences.” (This was in response to our plea for those commenting not to use vulgar language and to be respectful)

I suppose my question is why anyone would go so low as to make these kinds of comments when Reid – who’s as human as the rest of us – just lost his son? The guy is making plans to bury his child. It’s just too bad that people are so empty and so cold-hearted that they kick a guy when he’s down. And again, this has nothing to do with football and everything to do with life.

I feel very bad for the Reids and obviously for Garrett who if he died as a result of drugs was unable to win his battle. He seemed like a decent person deep down. He was young, made some stupid decisions, obviously got involved in stuff he had no control over and then possibly paid the ultimate price. But no one deserves to go like that, that young. He had his whole life ahead of him.

Now the pain will be on Andy Reid and the rest of his family. They will have to go on with the rest of their lives without their oldest son/brother. Andy Reid will run out onto the football field every weekend until sometime in January, coaching the beloved Philadelphia Eagles. And maybe his team this year wins a Super Bowl or at least makes it to the playoffs. And maybe everyone stays healthy and has terrific years. And maybe he’s even voted NFL Coach of the Year.

But in the end, none of that will matter – not even a little bit. For despite what a lot of people think, there will be a huge hole in his heart that nothing can ever fill. They haven’t made an award or trophy that big.

So my advice or words of support for Reid? Andy, do the best you can to move on from this tragic event. Don’t listen to what the hurtful people will say. Like the saying goes, if they haven’t walked a mile in your shoes, they’re clueless. You obviously did the best job you could do as a dad. There are things in life you just can’t control and this is one of them and one of the most painful. Time will heal – a little bit. You’ll never be the same person but perhaps you can find some peace and comfort out there. You did your best and that’s what counts.

And to the rest of the people? Try and support the guy like you’d support your own family. And for the others, please save your mean spirits for someone who actually cares to listen. I – and many others – don’t want to hear it. Not now. Not ever.

– Andy Hachadorian

About fromtheeditorchair

I am the editor of the Daily Local News.
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12 Responses to Andy Reid burying a child … how about cutting the guy a break?

  1. Patti Raffa says:

    That’s how I feel! Beautifully said and thanks for saying it!

  2. Debbie says:

    So well said Andy. We have had addiction in our family and it takes a tremendous toll on everyone.At this point, maybe drugs had nothing to do with his untimely death. I have never lost a child and that I can not even begin to enter into that type of experience nor do I ever. My sincere prayers are well the Reid family. I just pray that they will find peace in the years to come. Obviously apart of them is gone forever and nothing can replace that.

  3. bob says:

    Why I believe that Andy did everything in his power to help both boys fight thier addictions and my prayers go out to his whole family I can not see how either statement is hurtful as you paint them. That is what happens when you do drugs? what is wrong with that phrase even Andy has alluded to the fact he thinks his drug history had something to do with it. As for the other it was directed at the paper for telling people to limit the coments to condolenses only. If you print it as a topic of discussion then you have to allow for all sides of the story to be touched. I think most people feel the pain of the Reid family and are saddened at the loss of a young man who looked to have gotten his life back on track. However on an opinion page all sides will ,and should, hade their say. I may not like Andy as a coach but I do believe he is a good and honest human who in his time of need should and will get our well wishes as well as our prayers for his family to heal from this.

  4. Notrightbutcorrect says:

    Andy H.
    I agree with your general premise that the Reid’s deserve our sympathy and compassion right now, not judgemental comments. However, this is a comment section, and people should still be able to leave their crass comments, if that’s what floats their boat.
    Finally, a little nit for your grammatical error, which an editor shouldn’t make. That’s why you are the editor. In your last paragraph you say “try and support the guy”, when I’m sure you know the correct way to state this is “try to support the guy”. Sorry to be picky, but an editor should know this.

    • Well, you’re right about the grammar — never claimed to be grammar perfect. That’s why I AM the editor…;) However, while I support everyone’s right to leave comments, have opinions, whatever, I would hope people also would be sensitive to the situation and not leave vulgar or insensitive remarks. It’s just wrong. But it also speaks to the source I suppose…

      • bob says:

        from your 2 examples I do not see as vulger nor insensitive. that would be a coment like good the kid deserves to die or he handles his family like he does the team. That would be vulger and insensitive and should not be written I do not believe either statement nor condone them just trying to help you distinguish between your examples and vulger

  5. steve knicks says:

    “But in the end, none of that will matter – not even a little bit. For despite what a lot of people think, there will be a huge hole in his heart that nothing can ever fill. They haven’t made an award or trophy that big.”
    Enough said, take it from one who knows, the insignificance of it all, compared to the loss of a child.
    Great post, well said.

  6. Suzie says:

    If you mess up your children, nothing else you do really matters.
    Jackie Kennedy

  7. Casey Dougherty says:

    Wow, after reading such a beautiful, compassionate piece, I’m still amazed by the comments that all of these smug people have written, probably clueless to what their own children have done. Addiction is a disease. Saying, “that’s what happens when you do drugs,” is only one example of an insensitive comment, which if we’re all honest with ourselves is completely inappropriate given the situation. Like most others who take to the computer with their nastiness and “bravery” behind their  screen, this comment would never be uttered during an actual conversation, one of the biggest problems with social media. Look at one of the comments on this article. I don’t remember the exact words but it was implying that Andy failed as a parent. Garrett was just about 30. I’m sure Andy did his best, but we have no control over what our children may decide to try, whether it be in a moment of peer pressure or adolescent angst, that results in a lifelong battle with addiction. What’s so wrong with your life that you feel such a need to pass judgment during such a horrible time? Famous or not, the Reid’s are still human and deserve empathy. Why not try a little compassion and pray that your loved ones are fortunate enough not to have to face this increasingly common battle? 

  8. bob says:

    what is wrong with a little honesty? Even Andy alluded to that is what happens when you do drugs. It is better to be honest and use it as a warning to the young if it saves even one child then his passing would bring something good to others. In the end with this tradgety that is the best we can hope for.

    • I think you’re confusing honesty — which I endorse — and taking cheap shots and making statements whose only purpose is shock value. Trying hard to make someone feel bad isn’t being honest. It’s taking the opportunity to be a bully behind a computer. There’s a huge difference. Being honest has an end goal — helping. Saying nasty things to a grieving family serves no useful purpose other than to sound like an idiot…And some people enjoy doing it.

      • bob says:

        ergo the inheraded problem with blogs , text and email the intent of the message is not relayed as it would be verbally. we tend to add the emothion we deside it is instead of the intended one

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