DiBiase: Reid losing grip on family while Eagles struggle

Justin Dibiase

The structure of the modern nuclear American family can at times get jumbled in the fast-moving world of today. As ambitious people, we tend to get caught up in our work and school. Many times we need to step back and examine what is truly important to us in our lives. Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid is at a crossroads in his life as a parent and is making a huge mistake in remaining with the Eagles after his sons’ latest court hearing.

Britt and Garrett Reid, ages 22 and 24, respectively, have had a tumultuous 12 months to say the least. Their problems began on Jan. 30. On this day, Garrett reportedly used heroin and ran a red light before striking a car driven by a 55-year-old woman. His brother Britt reportedly experienced road rage and pointed a gun at an adjacent car on the same day in an unrelated incident. The police later recovered a shotgun, ammunition and a white residue substance from Britt’s car. Two weeks later, Andy Reid decided to take a leave of absence from his position as head coach and vice president of football operations in order to straighten up the situation in his household. Mind you, the Eagles were in the offseason, so he was not as busy as he is during training camp, draft time or in the middle of the season. Reid returned to his office about six weeks later.

On Aug. 24, Britt was sent to jail for violating his bail terms after he was found with a painkiller and other controlled substances in his car when he was stopped at a traffic stop. His brother was ordered back to jail on Oct. 16 when he missed a scheduled drug test. After being released from jail and put on house arrest, Britt failed another drug test about two weeks ago. The police then searched Reid’s Villanova home and found numerous prescription drugs, needles and two syringes in Garrett’s room. A few days later, a judge sentenced the two brothers to up to 23 months in jail. The judge also criticized the Reid household, calling it a “drug emporium” and a “family in crisis.”

The Reids are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I do not mean to stereotype, but practicing Mormons are known for their abidance to Mormon codes and beliefs. They are also known for their calm demeanor. Somewhere in the lives of these two young adults, they were steered off the course of their faith in a rather drastic way.

No one works harder as an NFL coach than Reid. Late nights, early mornings and intense dedication are what Reid employs in his daily regimen. So it was baffling when, after reporters asked Reid if he was prepared to be with the Eagles for the long term, he answered simply, “Yes.”

As much as Reid means to the success of the team, it is immeasurably disheartening to see his family going into a downward spiral. Reid is known for his tranquil demeanor, and it is apparent that either his personality or his job got in the way of setting his kids straight. How can a father allow these drugs and paraphernalia to linger in his house after his sons went through jail time and a rehabilitation period? I cannot comment on the actual happenings in the Reid household, but I wholeheartedly disapprove of Reid’s decision to stay with the team. His family needs him now more than ever, and though the struggling Eagles could use their jolly leader, Reid needs to be home. When Britt and Garrett return from jail, Andy and his wife need to help their sons get over their possibly life-threatening addictions. Reid may think that he can keep doing his job efficiently while helping his sons, but this is not true. Who will watch after Britt and Garrett while their parents are away on the road? Who will be there to physically search their rooms daily while Reid is working late into the night preparing for the week’s game? There is not a doubt in my mind that the Eagles organization will understand and support his decision to walk away from the team, and when he is ready to return, his throne will be waiting for him.

In a recent press conference, Reid told reporters that he was praying and hoping his kids can “live a normal life in the future.” Praying is one thing, but Reid needs to pull out a special playbook to devise a plan to help his sons. This is his Super Bowl; this is what will define his character. It’s fourth and long, and Reid needs to convert.

The Eagles are a mediocre 3-5, but more importantly, Reid is 0-2 in his battle to beat his sons’ addictions.

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Justin DiBiase is a junior civil engineering major from Franklinville, N.J. He can be reached at [email protected]