Remy, a member of the Red Sox organization since 1978 and a Fall River native, ended his season early last year as color man for New England Sports Network—the Red Sox co-owned television channel—when his son, Gerald, was arrested for the murder of his partner, Jennifer Martel.
The younger Remy’s trial is set for October, after the 2014 regular season ends. The elder Remy will have all year to dodge questions about the trial and worry about his shattered family. The stress bordering on unbelievable.
Remy is an old 62. A lung cancer survivor after his Marlboro habit caught up with him and a person that has publically battled depression, Remy has missed large portions of three of the last five seasons. Each time NESN had scrambled to match partner Don Orsillo with any number of analysts to keep the broadcasts moving.
For the professional Orsillo, it has been an incredible challenge to be asked to continually mesh with multiple people and styles over long stretches of the season. Not only has Orsillo not complained openly, he has become a better broadcaster for it.
The public relations-minded Red Sox have done the right thing and offered Remy his chair back for his 27th season as the de facto voice of the team. The former player is beloved by the Fenway Faithful and, as he has aged, is more and more appreciative of the genuine affection. For the Sox not to offer Remy the chance to return would have generated a backlash.
Accepting the role, on the other hand, might create a substantial backlash as well.
Aside from the Remy family, the Martel family will spend 2014 coping with the loss of a daughter and the knowledge that an abusive relationship left a little girl without her mother. For them, October cannot come fast enough.
For all sides, there is no easy answer. Remy should not be held from his job because of the actions of his adult child. The Red Sox cannot possibly make everyone happy no matter what they do and the Martel’s will live daily with the tragedy of last August.
The right thing to do is the toughest.
Remy should decline the offer and work out a deal that keeps him as involved as he wishes with Red Sox Nation and Fenway that gives him the proper amount of time to heal. The New York Mets invite long-time broadcaster Ralph Kiner to sit in on a number of games with the popular trio of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling on their television package and gives the Mets and their fans a healthy dose of the last original voice of the franchise.
A package of home games and an on-field ambassador between the team and the fans is the best choice. Remy can still do what he loves, NESN can move forward with their broadcasts and Remy can have the privacy he deserves when he needs it.
Whatever decision he makes, it will be what is best for him and we will need to respect it and his privacy.
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