Should Jerry Remy leave broadcasting?
They say ignorance is bliss. For Red Sox fans that certainly was the case in 2013. Sox fans were riding high last summer as their team tore through the league, going from the previous year’s last place finish to division winners and American League Pennant champions.
In August, things hit a little speed bump in Red Sox Nation though, when Jared Remy, 35, was arrested for the bloody, horrific murder of Jennifer Martel, his girl friend and mother of his 4-year-old daughter.
Jared is the son of former Red Sox player, and New England Sports Network (NESN) color commentator Jerry Remy, “The Rem Dawg” who is so beloved by fans that he was voted Honorary President of Red Sox Nation.
Jerry Remy in his now famous “air guitar” moment:
But despite Jared’s arrest, life went on as usual for Sox fans who celebrated a World Series victory alongside their bearded brigade. With Jared’s murder charges pending, Jerry Remy took a break from the airwaves, unable to continue his signature light-hearted banter with co-host Don Orsillo. So a number of last minute replacements were called in to do the job. Sox fans didn’t let the Remy case get in the way of their enjoyment of the games.
But much has come to light in baseball’s off season about Jared Remy, leading fans to ponder not only about the character of a man who could commit cold-blooded murder, but Jerry Remy’s character too.
A recent piece by Eric Moscowitz in the Boston Globe paints a scary picture of Jared Remy. With a history of violent crime going back to boyhood, he had a charmed way of avoiding prosecution, getting charges dropped, or getting a mere slap on the wrist when found guilty of crimes. Jared Remy’s violence-laden background includes a stunning history of physical abuse and intimidation, particularly against women:
• Arrested for domestic assault and malicious destruction of property after he allegedly assaulted his girlfriend while she held their child and damaged her car.
• Charged with disturbing the peace.
• Charged with possessing a hypodermic needle.
• Allegedly threatened to kill an ex-girlfriend if she did not get back together with him.
• Restraining order filed against him by the mother of his first child after he allegedly threatened her and her boyfriend when she refused to allow him to take their son on an unsupervised visit.
• Charged with striking a man with a bottle.
• Charged with threatening to kill his girlfriend.
• Ex-roommate filed a restraining order against him after Remy allegedly attacked him and his father.
• Charged with hitting a woman in the head with a beer bottle.
• Charged with assaulting and threatening to kill his girlfriend.
• Charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after he hit his girlfriend in the head with a cordless phone.
• Charged with vandalism after his girlfriend found him cutting up her clothes and pictures with scissors.
Despite Jared Remy’s background, in 2004, he easily got a job with the Red Sox security staff at Fenway Park. But his unlawful behavior continued.
• Arrested (at dad Jerry Remy’s home) for beating his girl friend and kicking her in the back, stomach and face. He was charged with assault and battery and resisting arrest.
• Charged with violating a restraining order that his girl friend had taken out against him. (Remy pled guilty and was sentenced to two years’ probation).
• Arrested as part of a Major League Baseball steroid investigation. There was a great deal of speculation about Remy selling steroids to ballplayers, but Remy claimed the steroids were for his personal use. He said he “gets all the money he needs from his dad,” so why would he sell steroids? The Red Sox ultimately fired him.
• Charged with driving with a suspended license.
• Remy is accused of repeatedly stabbing Jennifer Martel on her head, hands, and legs in front of their 4-year old daughter, on the outside patio of their Waltham apartment. Neighbors tried to help her and called police. Remy was arrested at the scene, covered in Jennifer’s blood. The fatal attack came a day after Remy was released from custody after allegedly pushing Jennifer into a mirror two days before the killing.
There were many warning signs over the years that Jared Remy was a dangerous and violent man. But Jerry Remy hired the best attorney he could for his son and systematically got him off case after case after case. With his son never able to support himself (that Red Sox security job paid $10/hour), Jerry Remy has always paid his son’s living expenses and gotten him out of trouble time and again.
At 35, Jared Remy is a man who has never had to pay for the consequences of his actions. In his article, Moskowitz called Jared “the king of second chances.” He came from a wealthy, connected family with a sports legend dad at the ready with the cash and prestige to continuously bail him out.
And mom did her part too to protect her son. A neighbor who Jennifer confided in the day before she was killed, told police that Jared’s mother Phoebe had convinced Jennifer to drop the restraining order she had filed against Jared in order to protect his reputation.
As a result of the events leading up to Jennifer Martel’s death, an independent report found that court prosecutors had mishandled the case by letting Remy go free so he could “finish the job” on Martel. In Massachusetts, there is a law that is supposed to protect domestic violence victims. So that even if a victim removes a restraining order (which victims are often pressured to do by family members), the courts can hold a suspect if they believe the person is dangerous. The report concluded that Jared Remy should have been held longer, and prosecutors agreed, acknowledging they were wrong.
When Moskowitz’s story broke, Red Sox Nation woke up from their ignorant bliss. Fans immediately asked NESN to fire Jerry Remy. They believe he enabled his son to skirt the law and carry on a wave of violence. They didn’t want to financially support Jerry Remy who is financing Jared’s defense.
During spring training, I watched a few games on NESN and Jerry Remy was back in the broadcaster’s booth, once again engaging in light-hearted chitchat with Don Orsillo, as if nothing had ever happened.
After Moskowitz’s article and the fans’ revolt, Jerry Remy took to the media to defend himself. In the video clip below he says, “Any help we gave our son is what any parent would do… We tried to get this kid on the right track… Looking back, I didn’t know if I would do anything differently.”
As a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation, I love Jerry Remy. When I met him in an elevator in Chicago, it was the highlight of my trip.
But something is so wrong here it can’t just be laughed away. Jared Remy had a history of threatening and beating women. He was an admitted steroid user. Jared was clearly on the wrong track his whole life and will never be on the right one.
Jerry said he doesn’t know if he would have done anything differently. How about making Jared take responsibility for his actions, instead of enabling him to hurt more people? How about getting Jared the real psychiatric help that was needed, instead of counseling that clearly wasn’t working? How about NOT paying for Jared’s steroids which likely were messing with his temper? How about being “that father” who makes the hard call to the police, instead of “that father” who just cleans up his son’s messes?
How about protecting people from Jared instead of the other way around?
When the murder happened, I supported Jerry Remy’s decision to sit the rest of the season out. I hoped he would come back. But as more light has been shed on Jared Remy’s background, and the revelation that Jerry Remy has been covering up Jared’s violent history for years, I just can’t sit back and enjoy the Jerry and Don show anymore.
I love you Jerry, but this isn’t funnytime. This is a serious matter. Your response is sadly unacceptable. You need to go.