There’s one topic dominating sportsradio right now. And it isn’t even Wing Bowl.
Sunday morning’s Philadelphia Inquirer carried the heartbreaking story of a six-year-old girl finding out she had a cyst in her left ovary that would need to be removed. Her father had to miss work that day, never escaping the constant fear of cancer, to help her through the tests.
When he returned to his “office” Sunday, he messed up. He made two mistakes that he never usually makes.
People would think his boss would understand. But it just so happens that the girl was Halley Akers and her father, David, was in his 12th season as place kicker for the Philadelphia Eagles. He was playing in the opening weekend of the NFL Playoffs and there was no room for error.
Akers missed twice — once from 41 yards and then from 34 –in a 5 point loss to the Green Bay Packers.
The struggles of the always reliable Akers lead the media to wonder what was going on. The public was unaware, as was, by and large, the media of all that was going on just a few miles down the Schuylkill at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
However, one person who did know was head coach Andy Reid. And when the usually less than critical leader of the team was asked what happened, he stepped out of character to criticize his kicker.
These soundbites from Reid’s postgame press conference are dominating local radio and TV:
“We can all count. Those points would have helped.”
“He missed both of them. You guys saw it. He missed those.”
“The guy is a Pro Bowl kicker, so I’m thinking he’s going to make it.”
That is what has people talking. It’s led to him being called a ‘total jerk’, ‘insensitive’, ‘the worst boss in America’ and anything in between by news and fan sites across the area.
What the soundbites are leaving out though are the questions. To a certain extent, Reid has to answer the questions he’s asked. We all know he doesn’t always do it. We know he is very intentional about what he says. It’s undoubtedly puzzling that he wouldn’t offer up another non-answer.
But it isn’t fair to make him out to be a bad person either.
One thing that can be said about Andy Reid is that he is a kind, caring man. No matter how tired we all are of his constant shortcomings during games or his painfully arrogant quips at news conferences, it just isn’t fair to say he’s a big jerk who cares more about field goals than kids with cancer.
It’s not true.
Though the comments were insensitive without question, the Eagles head honcho is being wrongfully portrayed as a soulless jerk. And while we all feel for Akers, one of the best competitors and citizens Philadelphia has seen, keep in mind that as much as we hate Andy Reid the football coach, the man has proved time and time again that he understands the issues that go beyond the thick white sidelines of a playoff football field.
Did he make a mistake — yes. But don’t let these remarks define Andy Reid. If you do you’re getting a bad definition.