April 30, 2019
Andy Reid is a fraud.
The fact that I feel alone in writing those words, 20 years into his despicable tenure as a head coach in the NFL, is infuriating to me – almost as infuriating as his record of enabling domestic abusers in his futile quest to win a championship.
Before the astounding events of the past year, I already had a well-shaped opinion of Reid as a phony hiding behind his cherubic mustache and his grandfatherly smirk. Even while he was accumulating more wins than any coach in Eagles history, there was always an unscrupulous air about him, a sense that there was darkness behind that smile.
Soon after my WIP radio show hired as a co-host Hollis Thomas, a 14-year NFL veteran who played seven years for Reid, many of my worst impressions were validated. Thomas shook his head in disgust the first time I asked him about Reid, citing a record of promises broken and loyalties violated.
Thomas still hasn’t recovered from his sudden release in 2006 – just days after a verbal guarantee that he would get to finish his career in Philadelphia. He thought 10 years of sacrificing his body in the trenches of the NFL deserved a better sendoff than that. He trusted the coach.
People who know Reid best understand his duplicity far better than a fawning the local and national media, who continue to reinforce the myth of his honorable nature, ignoring his insufferable attitude after Brian Dawkins’ abrupt departure or his unforgivable public criticism of David Akers just days after the kicker learned that his six-year-old daughter had cancer.
What finally inspired me to speak out – louder than ever before – on my show and in this column was a headline I saw last weekend on SI.com. After Reid had presided over a third domestic-abuse fiasco in less than a year, the website asked: Should Andy Reid Face Scrutiny Over Tyreek Hill Situation? In the same article, SI said contributor Albert Breer “believes that at heart Reid is a good guy.”
Good guy? Really? Even after the prosecutor’s office in Kansas City had publicly acknowledged that a crime had been committed in the assault on Hill’s three-year-old son, Reid planned no recourse against Hill until an audiotape surfaced last Thursday in which the child’s mother documented Hill’s repeated verbal and physical abuse. This is a good guy?
A week later, with the voice of the frightened mom still reverberating throughout the sports world, Reid has still not seen fit to cut the player. He said a new investigation is ongoing, then refused any further questions, insisting instead that “this is Frank’s day,” referring to yet another alleged domestic abuser whose case we will deal with shortly.
In Andy Reid’s warped world, the words investigation and cover-up are interchangeable. For example, the Chiefs planned no sanctions against Kareem Hunt last year until a videotape surfaced showing him assaulting a woman in a Cleveland hotel. The victim revealed, after Reid had no choice but to release Hunt, that the Chiefs had never bothered to interview her during what they said was an “extensive” probe.
Given the enormity of the Hunt scandal, what happened next is even more inconceivable. Last week, it was revealed that Reid never talked to Hill about the accusations, even after reports that the player allegedly broke his son’s arm. Yes, the NFL had begun its own bogus probe by then, but wouldn’t an honorable coach want to know if he had a monster on his roster? Wouldn’t he feel a responsibility to talk to the player?
Enabling two miscreants like Hunt and Hill should be more than enough cause for scrutiny – if not suspension from the NFL – but between those two scandals, the veteran coach had one more domestic-abuse insult to offer from his media-secured cocoon. It was time for “Frank’s day.”
Last week, Reid traded for defensive end Frank Clark, whose career at Michigan ended in 2014 after he was arrested for punching his girlfriend in the face. Ultimately, Clark pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, and then, when a woman reporter in 2017 linked a story about his dubious past, he tweeted: “I have a job for you cleaning my fish tank.”
After signing this charmer to a five-year, $104-million contract, Andy Reid assured everyone during a news conference last Friday that Frank Clark is a new man now, worthy of a second chance. The coach said the Chiefs had done their due diligence before the big trade with Seattle. Yeah, if there’s one thing Reid is good at, it’s due diligence. He proved that in the Hunt and Hill cases, didn’t he?
Someday, after he mercifully leaves coaching, the Eagles will want to honor Reid with a special day, probably a fancy plaque, most likely a big testimonial banquet. He will flash that bogus smile one more time and thank all of the people who helped him become the most successful coach in Eagles history.
When that day arrives, people who know the real Andy Reid – people who have actually been paying attention to his reprehensible behavior over the past generation – will think instead about all the lies he told and all the victims he left behind during his fraudulent tenure as a head coach in the NFL.