The 29-year-old son of Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid was laid to rest on Tuesday. And while NFL Network made up for being somewhat late to the party in delivering news to its viewers with comprehensive (albeit sporadic) coverage for the remainder of Sunday morning, some feel that the network descended on Garrett Reid’s funeral service as if they were crashing a party.
Viewers took issue at NFLN’s presence outside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Broomall, PA, where the private funeral service was attended by nearly 1,000 mourners, including a who’s-who of NFL figures, from New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick to former Eagles defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who currently holds that position for the New Orleans Saints, to Commissioner Roger Goodell himself.
On Tuesday morning, “NFL AM” conducted live reports from Kimberly Jones outside the entrance to the church, hours before the service was scheduled to take place at 10:00 AM ET.
“What is the scene like now at this hour,” a somber Brian Webber asked Jones in one report.
Jones, who was all alone in the church parking lot, reported that “we are waiting for folks to arrive.”
Look, I get that NFL Network has to fill twenty hours of content per week on their new morning show. And I also get that NFLN thinks it might be a good idea to present viewers with a preview of what is expected (Webber: “Bill Belichick expected to attend today’s ceremony; do you have a sense of who else could be paying their respects in person?”) at Garrett Reid’s funeral.
A preview that could have easily been done in the confines of the NFL Network studios in Culver City.
As opposed to right outside the church, “waiting for folks to arrive.”
That appears to be how some viewers feel, according to Twitter. “I love NFL Network,” wrote Lawrence Morgan, “but having a reporter at someone’s funeral for a live report is going too far and beyond disgusting.” C.D. Carter commented, “Live roundtable coverage of Andy Reid’s son’s funeral is the best evidence yet that our culture is a rotting, stinking corpse.” And Tyler Kelley tweets these words of wisdom: “Am I the only one that thinks having a reporter live at a head coach’s son’s funeral is extremely [expletive] up?”
And on Facebook, one die-hard NFL fan was sickened by what he saw. “This isn’t a red carpet affair, and it’s not news for the public. This is a private matter,” wrote cartoonist and football satirist John Tayman. “Show the man and his family some respect and at least move your circus across the street.
“This is not NFL news. This is a personal tragedy for a man who happens to be an NFL head coach. Being able to show us live shots of his family arriving for the funeral of their son and brother is not worth the invasion of privacy you’re causing at a terrible moment for a man you’ve spent the last two days expressing sympathy for.”
The case of NFL Network camping out at a church for the funeral service of Andy Reid’s son is a double-edged sword: Does the league-run network feel privileged to be there simply because the father of the deceased is a head coach in the league? Was it the mere presence of the likes of Belichick and Goodell that warranted these live reports from the site of the funeral service in the first place? And did Reid’s family ever make a request that the network not appear on the premises that morning?
Such a request shouldn’t have to be made in a time of mourning.
As Webber himself said later in the report as he asked Jones if Andy Reid would be able to coach the Eagles’ preseason opener on Thursday night: “Football, of course, secondary and trivial at a time like this.”
Perhaps the network that’s “football 24/7” should have been “secondary and trivial,” as well.
There do not appear to have been any live reports from the private funeral service of Junior Seau in San Diego – just Steve Wyche reporting from the public memorial service at Qualcomm Stadium. And many more people, at least outside of Philadelphia, have known Seau more than they did Andy Reid’s family members. Something else to think about.
Unfortunately, in a quest to deliver content to viewers, sometimes even the most funereal of circumstances, common decency is abandoned.
But you can’t blame Kimberly Jones, who on Monday night tweeted, “The extreme, continuing sadness I feel for Andy Reid and his family isn’t from being a parent. I’m not one. I guess it’s from being human.”
She was just doing her job.
Was NFL Network out of line for delivering live reports of Garrett Reid’s funeral live from the church? Do you think it was a genuine football story? Let me know what you think – post a comment below.