Should a father pay for the sins of the son?

Former baseball player Jerry Remy, a broadcaster for the Red Sox for many years, is the center of an unusual debate: Should a father lose his job because he raised a child who (allegedly) committed murder?

The debate has raged after the Boston Globe last weekend ran a lengthy story of Remy’s son, Jared, who is awaiting trial for the death of his girlfriend. Remy the younger had a long history of run-ins with the law, and was the beneficiary of leniency in the judicial system, receiving “an extraordinary number of second chances,” the reporter said, thanks partly to the ability of his father to pay for lawyers.

“Yes, of course we did,” Remy told radio station WEEI this morning.

“What are we guilty of? We’re guilty of getting him lawyers when he was in trouble. We were well aware what was going on with Jared and we tried our best to do everything along the way to get him as much help as he possibly could. And then for a stretch it seemed like he had his life in order and then of course everything caved in and we felt as parents… did we enable him?

“Yes, we paid for lawyers, we paid for a psychiatrist, we paid for the help that we thought he needed. I think a lot of families would have done the same thing. Others would not have. Others would have thrown him out into the street, but that just wasn’t our way. When you look back on it, was it the right thing to do? I don’t have an answer to that. I really don’t have an answer for that.”

Remy said he’s paying for his son’s legal representation now, too.

“It was not an option, he was our son, he’s our son and we tried to do the best that we possibly could for him,” Remy said. “Unless you go through something like this, like I said, people have different ways of dealing with their own personal families and I was in a position where I felt that we could deal with it in a proper way and get him the proper help … believe me, we tried everything we possibly could and stuff about buying cars and this and that you look back and you say, ‘Maybe we should have did [sic] things differently,’ but the fact is he was a kid that couldn’t hold onto a job.

“He couldn’t do this, he couldn’t do that, and one thing you’ve got to keep in mind through all this is that we wanted the best for our granddaughter, too. He was living with Jennifer and our granddaughter was there and we didn’t want to see her thrown out on the street and begin her life in a horrible way and now obviously it’s horrible now. But that’s just the way we felt, that’s the type of people we are. Some people can accept that and some people still can’t accept it so looking back I don’t know if I would do things differently, I really don’t. We did the best that we possibly could.

“We thought we were loving parents and we thought we were trying to do what we could to get this kid on the right track and we failed. We failed. It’s that plain and simple. There’s no better way to describe it than we were not successful in that and if people don’t understand that well there’s nothing I can do to change their mind. That’s their prerogative.”

Remy took a leave from his broadcast job after his son’s arrest last summer, but now the baseball season is about to begin again and some people don’t think he should be in the broadcast booth, apparently.

Boston Globe columnist Alex Beam is one of them:

Defenders of Jerry Remy argue that the beloved broadcaster shouldn’t be blamed for the deeds of his son. Nobody thinks he should; obviously, only Jared Remy should face punishment for any of his crimes. But hiring a high-priced lawyer, and valuing their son’s freedom above the safety of others — those were the elder Remys’ decisions, and they all added up to a climate of impunity.

And if Jerry Remy sold used cars, then maybe none of it would matter. The questionable decisions an employee makes with his own paycheck are usually his own business.

But Jerry Remy doesn’t sell used cars. His job is to be a particular TV persona — the gentle, chuckling color commentator on Sox games. Playing that role has made him popular. But now that’s not an image that he can project without turning New England’s collective stomach.

Remy, a Massachusetts native, has been considered the president of Red Sox Nation.

So far, his employer is sticking by him, as the sports talk radio phone lines sizzle.

  • KTFoley

    I’m not sure which is more ubiquitous: armchair quarterbacking a professional sport as though we’d all make the play our team just missed, or doing the same for parenting.

    It’s legitimately hard and we — the nation of howling comments — have no way to know what we’d do if we were in the parents’ place.

    It’s heartbreaking on all sides. But the notion that Remy should lose his job for having used his paycheck to do the best he could in a terrible situation is no way to grieve. We can’t go there, particularly if we’re telling ourselves that somehow we’re not really punishing him for his son’s crime.

  • BReynolds33

    “But hiring a high-priced lawyer, and valuing their son’s freedom above the safety of others — those were the elder Remys’ decisions, and they all added up to a climate of impunity.”

    Wow. What a shallow and shortsighted view of the world. I wouldn’t want to be this guy’s kid.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    I think Jerry has been very forthcoming from the start about the wrong his son did and the difficulty he’s having with it as a parent. He should keep his job. We are still America and I can’t fault or judge a parent who participates in the legal system on behalf of his child.

  • Joe

    I guess it depends on if the employer can reasonably prove that keeping him on would have been a liability for the company, otherwise I’d go for wrongful termination because this sounds pretty ridiculous.
    Also, anyone would hire a “better” lawyer for their child if they could.

    • Jack Ungerleider

      Since he is a broadcast personality keeping him on may turn into a liability. If ratings go down due to people not watching/listening because they find his presence on the broadcast disturbing then he will be fired. I suspect he will get more sympathy at this point then anything.

  • Jenny Pulczinski

    Of course he should not lose his job for trying to help his child. At least he tried. Many parents don’t. They are in denial about the state of their child’s mind or are too busy with their own lives to heed the warnings. At least this father acknowledged something was wrong and tried. We could have been there/done that just as easily as Mr. Remy, and we would have done what we could. Should we be punished for it? No!