Andy Reid

It generally seems like a bad idea to bring up a coach’s son’s death as proof of that coach’s failures, but that sure didn’t stop Kansas City’s Sports Radio 810 WHB host Kevin Kietzman from doing just that Monday. Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid’s son Garrett died in 2012 from a heroin overdose, while Reid’s son Britt has also served time in prison on gun and drug charges. Somehow, Kietzman (who’s in his 20th year as the host of WHB mid-day show Between The Lines) managed to blame Reid for his sons’ issues, and also compare his alleged lack of discipline there to the Chiefs not yet cutting Tyreek Hill (who’s meeting with NFL investigators this week, something Kietzman broke the news of on WHB’s website) after a child abuse investigation.

Update, June 25: Kietzman has now been taken off the air by his station, and he’s issued an apology to Reid, Reid’s family and listeners. Our initial post from June 24 follows:

Update, June 24: Kietzman e-mailed Awful Announcing to say he didn’t mean to reference Garrett’s death, but rather the issues the Reid sons had, and added that he believes the Reid sons’ issues are fair game for comment given that they worked for the team. His full statement to AA is below. First, here’s audio of his comments from Boston radio station WEEI’s Off Day Podcast:

“The thing is, they probably think they can fix him, but they thought they could fix him before and they failed. 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. To be honest, Andy Reid’s greatest strength is designing football offenses and plays. That’s his greatest strength. Players like him, sure, he’s a leader, I’m not saying he’s not a leader, his greatest strength is designing football plays. And that’s gotten him a long way, but that doesn’t mean he’s qualified to discipline players, or help them, or change them, or make them better.”

Update, June 24: And here’s Kietzman’s e-mail comment in its entirety:


I appreciate you at least putting so much of my quote in your story but still believe you may have missed much of the context.

I was commenting the Chiefs, as they always do, seem to think they can fix players. The owner was criticized, management criticized and Andy Reid was criticized. They asked our city to trust them with these players after we have already witnessed abuse cases and a murder/suicide in the parking lot of the practice facility. Many national outlets have chronicled the Chiefs embarrassing record with players committing crimes against others.

I never once mentioned anything about Andy Reid’s son’s death and never once had it on my mind. A caller called in later and said something about the death and I quickly corrected him and pointed out that I was referencing two sons that were convicted drug dealers and drug addicts that he chose to try to fix by hiring them to work for his football teams.

When Reid decided to hire his sons to try to help them, it ceased being a personal, private matter in my opinion. When a tax payer supported football team hires convicted felons, it is absolutely worthy of scrutiny. Andy Reid has hired several convicted criminals in his career and asked fans to trust him. Some have worked out, many have not. He’s also taken chances on players that somehow drop in the draft because other teams are scared to draft them and he’s going to work it all out. Failure with Marcus Peters and Kareem Hunt. Failed with many lesser known players that had to go. This is a complicated issue in Kansas City and at no point did I ever mention his son’s death, let alone blame him for it. That’s an insane position. But I do believe he and the Chiefs have a bad pattern of employing players, coaches and staff with real issues thinking it will all work out if they are working or playing for him. And that pattern is about to continue when they keep Tyreek Hill.

Reid and the Chiefs asked us to trust them as they moved Hill and subsequently his girlfriend to KC. Now Kansas taxpayers are taking care of Tyreek HIll’s son and likely his soon to be born twins. As concerned citizens, we at least find some comfort knowing our city and excellent Child Services professionals are taking care of a child the Chiefs and Tyreek Hill have failed.

In a subsequent email, Kietzman said he had no intention of tying this to Garrett Reid’s death and that his charity work involves counseling parents who have gone through teen suicide and telling them they’re not to blame:

I never once mentioned the death of his son and as a father of three young adults, know how hard it is being a parent.  Trust me, I’m the last guy that would ever do anything like that.  My main charity work here in KC centers around teen suicide as it has affected many people that we loosely know.

Our group works very, very hard to help counsel parents that it is NOT their fault because they tend to blame themselves.
Andy is a good man but just like the rest of us, has flaws.  He’s in a position where a lot of his mistakes are public and that just comes with the territory.  
Funny thing is this is totally a social media/internet fiasco, I never had one person call and complain about anything I said and neither did the radio station.

As we noted originally, talking about player issues with the Chiefs is one thing, including with Hill and with Hunt before him, but bringing Reid’s family into this feels like crossing a line, even if the reference to Garrett Reid’s death wasn’t intended. Kietzman’s argument about Reid hiring his sons makes it more understandable why he went this way, and his comment that he wasn’t thinking about Garrett Reid’s death makes his comments look a little better, but from the outside, saying “It did not work out particularly well in his family life” understandably brings up thoughts of the most significant Reid family issue.

And overall, this really doesn’t seem too connected to the Hill situation, which is still in flux with that NFL investigation and with a child services investigation still ongoing (although the criminal investigation is no longer active). If Kietzman wants to argue that the Chiefs should cut Hill, that’s fine. If he wants to bring up the Chiefs’ past with other players, fair enough. But connecting this to the issues of the Reid sons and to Andy Reid’s supposed lack of discipline in his personal and professional life still feels like a bold take.

[The Off Day on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.