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Coach not responsible for “kids”

Last Thursday, a Pennsylvanian judge ordered the two sons of Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid to serve jail terms for separate drug charges. This recent turn of events has many people wondering whether Reid should resign from his position after the judge referred to his household as a “drug emporium.”

I, historically, have been pretty tough on celebrity parents whose professional jobs take away from their other full-time obligation of being a parent. In this

situation, however, there is a strong case to place a great portion of the blame on the “children” involved because both are in their early 20s – the age of most college students – and both should be able to comprehend that breaking the law has very real consequences.

For those who don’t know, Reid’s sons have had issues with drugs for a number of years.

Reid, who has coached in Philadelphia for the last nine NFL seasons, took a five-week leave of absence last February to deal with his sons’ substance abuse problems after both were arrested Jan. 30, 2007. During his hiatus, he allowed his sons Garrett, 24, and Britt, 22, to live in the family house while under court supervision.

Now examine this from both sides.

To be fair to the “children” involved in this case, I must say that the only people who know what kind of parenting goes inside the Reid household are the people who live there. If you turned on ESPN last week, you would have seen many of the former NFL players, who are now football analysts, coming to Reid’s defense. They gave testimony to the good character of the coach and believed that there was no way he would knowingly allow his sons to stash and abuse drugs in his home.

But again, outsiders can’t say for sure what kind of parental supervision has been going on in their household since Reid and his wife Tammy have been parents. So one can’t tell whether his sons’ drug problems are or are not the result of lackadaisical parenting. The judge in this case apparently agreed with this notion when he said, “There isn’t any structure there (the Reid household) that this court can depend upon.”

In defense of Reid, who was visibly shaken at his Friday press conference, I think it’s safe to say that almost all children have hidden things from their parents at one point or another. And after children reach a certain age, they can do what they want no matter what their parents say.

Consider, also, that both of the “children” involved are well above the age of being legal adults and should be beyond the point of needing parental supervision to keep away from criminal activities.

After reading the report on

ESPN.com, there is one phrase used to describe the Reid brothers:


To put it bluntly, these two need to get their stuff straight.

There are so many underprivileged children in America who would do anything to have the resources that these two young men have. There are so many children who would love to live in a large suburban house with access to multiple cars and never have to worry about the financial side of life. It seems these two have been taking advantage of their parent’s generosity by stashing drugs in their home and using the family vehicles to store and transport them. These men have been given chance after chance to smarten up, and it just has not happened. Instead, they have been setting a very poor example for their three younger siblings and brought immeasurable embarrassment upon their parents, who, regardless of what kind of parenting skills they have, are being painted in the media as irresponsible.

That being said, Reid shouldn’t resign from his coaching position, because coaching, aside from paying him a large amount of money, is his passion in life. He should not have to give that up because his two adult sons can’t stay out of trouble.

Ryan Watson is a graduate student in mass communications.