When I was about 8 years old I wanted to play baseball and have dinner with one of my friends on a Saturday in the Spring. We both were looking forward to it all week, him talking about how many home runs he’d hit into the upper atmosphere of the planet. Me talking about how I was going to throw the ball so fast when I pitched that the ball would literally catch on fire. It was a much simpler time.
Blake was a smart kid. He was in our schools ELP (extended learning program) class, I was not. And I remember we had a multiplication table test that Wednesday and when we got our results back on Friday I was thrilled. I got around an 80 percent (79 but math has never been my strong suit). Then I leaned over to my left and looked at my friend Blake, who looked not as thrilled.
“Dude, my mom is going to freak when she sees this.” He said with fear and sadness filling his eyes.
He got an 89. He was shocked, then sad, and looked petrified.
“That’s a B+ dude that’s good.” I tried to reassure him, but it didn’t do any good.
“No man it won’t matter.” He said flatly before our math class was dismissed and I had to walk back to my homeroom. But I was sure that Blake would be able to come over and play baseball and have dinner with my family that Saturday.
To my 8 year old surprise, he was right. Blake’s mother called my house to sadly inform me and my family that Blake would in fact NOT be coming over for dinner and to play baseball. I was upset and I remember I said something bratty along the lines of “Blake’s parents are stupid for not letting him come over for getting a B+ on our multiplication table test.”
And that’s when my father saw a teaching moment that has resonated with me since he said it.
“Hey! That’s disrespectful. We don’t ever say things like that.” That was one of my fathers go to’s when parenting but the second point is what stuck. “Second we can NEVER look down or judge others for how they are. Would you like it if someone said that about me or Mom?”
I was dumbfounded “N... no” I stammered out.
“Exactly. Nick’s parents might be different and might be stricter but that doesn’t mean we get to judge.” He said in his stern baritone voice. I was still trying to put it all together in my 8 year old mind, but the lesson stuck. It’s never one’s place to determine who is and who isn’t a good parent.
Evidently, Kevin Kietzman, Host of Between the Lines on 810 WHB of Kansas City, had never learned that rule. Because on Monday, June 24th, Keitzman made an absolutely inexcusable personal attack on not only Andy Reid, but his late son Garrett Reid too.
“Andy Reid does not have a great record of fixing players, he doesn’t. Discipline is not his thing. It did not work out particularly well in his family life, and that needs to be added to this, as we’re talking about the Chiefs. He wasn’t real great at that either. 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. That is not his strength. His strength is designing football plays.”
Don’t believe me? Here’s the clip.
That was difficult for me, not only as a sports fan but as a human being to listen too. I’ve written about how the Chiefs have failed to address their own player's domestic violence. And it's fine to say that a coach like Reid has overlooked these offenses. It’s in a way somewhat refreshing to hear people put fandom aside because they are taking a stand against a problem that continues to plague the United States.
But to even give off the hint that Reid’s lack of discipline in football players was one of the causes of his son Garrett’s death is abhorrent. Reid isn't a football coach to his children, he's their father. His son's tragic death due to a heroin overdose isn't a reason to personally attack Reid as a man who "Isn't good at fixing people". That isn't just some person, that's his son. Keitzman is a father himself, he's also an adult who knows better.
Does Kevin Kietzman really think that his failures as a football coach are what caused his sons death? Keitzman has said that it's not what he meant, but it sure as hell sounded like that's what he meant, and I'm not the only one who heard that in his 27-second long rant. ESPN's Louis Riddick stated on Twitter:
"Whoever this clown is that said this, you are trash for referencing Andy Reid and his family and his son. You don’t 'fix' people dumb ass. To speak about another man’s child is out of bounds. Embarrassing what people will do to try and be relevant."
And NBC's Senior NFL writer Will Brinson simply called the comments "Utterly Repugnant".
And then, I showed the 27-second clip to my father. Who was at a loss for words as he listened, his face turned from puzzlement to sadness to anger all in about 15 seconds. And the only thing he said after all of it was "What a sick son of a bitch." And then walked away in disgust.
But just wait, there's more! Kevin Kietzman, being the absolute human sack of dog shit that he is, gave a half-assed two minute and twenty-second apology.
The most important part of this god awful apology comes when Kietzman states:
“My beliefs on the team’s personnel history are absolutely trivial when it comes to actually hurting somebody with my poorly-chosen words. I am deeply sorry that I offended so many people. But mostly, I’m sorry if I hurt Coach Reid, a man I respect greatly. He deserves better than to have something like this happen that brings up terrible memories.”
Even if Kietzman did/does deeply respect Andy Reid, why the hell would he bring his family into it? If there is one thing I know about how to get a response out of people it's to bring in their family. To use an example from the Wild West, there's a big red line in the sand. Run up to it. Touch it. But if you cross it, it'll be hell to pay. And Kietzman crossed it.
Kietzman has been suspended indefinitely by WHB 810, but the toothpaste is already out of the tube. Those words have cut deep, and while there have been calls for Kietzman to resign it seems unlikely as he is an initial investor and Vice President as well as being their Sports Director.
I don't know what it's like to be a father, and good Lord willing will never know what it's like to lose a child.
While Kietzman has backtracked, gone on a Twitter-rant/apology/shit-show, Andy Reid has remained silent. Andy Reid has already lost one of his most precious gifts ever, and this Twitter/radio nobody attacks him about his late son's addiction says far more about the caliber of a man he is. Has Reid made mistakes? Of course, but using his own families tragedy as a point of emphasis for failures in football, which we often forget is a FUCKING game, is beyond me.
Maybe Kietzman is telling the truth and wanted to have an open dialogue about the Chiefs coaching staff and front office having failed to address domestic abuse within their organization. I would have been all ears, but all of those points that could have been made are wiped out by the fact that he decided to judge another man's ability to be a father.
All of this is disgusting and behalf of Colts Nation I want to personally apologize to Coach Reid and the rest of his family. The memories brought back and the loss of your family member is something I wouldn't even wish on my worst enemy. This isn't grounds for suspension. It's grounds for firing.
I don't like calling for people's jobs. I think it's wrong for me to prod into how another man makes a living. But when you attack not only the character of another father but to then make a slight at that father's deceased son, that's when it becomes my business. So Kietzman's employer, WHB Kansas City, has two options: it can wait things out and be like every sports radio network ever and just hope the outrage goes away. Or, it can look to lead and make it known that very personal attacks like the one Kietzman did, have no place in sports radio let alone today's society.
I pray to god it's the latter option, but the cynic in me has a feeling it'll be the former.
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