“We would like to thank Kevin for his dedicated service over the last 22 years,” Union Broadcasting President Chad Boeger said in the statement. “Kevin has been a valuable member of the Sports Radio 810 WHB team. We wish him all the best on his future endeavors and good luck moving forward.”
“It’s been my honor and privilege to host Between the Lines for the past 22 years and I’m proud of being a founding partner of this great local company that is so committed to our community,” Kietzman said in the statement.
Kietzman was suspended Tuesday from his sports talk show, “Between the Lines,” for linking Reid’s handling of Hill and the death of Reid’s son Garrett from an accidental heroin overdose in 2012. Hill, suspended and banned from the Chiefs’ facility pending an investigation into allegations of child abuse, is meeting with NFL officials Wednesday in Kansas City. The Kansas Department of Children and Families has been looking into two March incidents in which officers were called to Hill’s home when his 3-year-old son broke his arm.
“The thing is, [the Chiefs] probably think [Reid] can fix [Hill], but they thought they could fix him before, and they failed,” Kietzman said. “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.”
The outcry was swift, as was the suspension. Kietzman, a WHB 810 vice president and sports director who was an original investor in the station, apologized in a 2:19 recording on Twitter, saying he had tried to contact Reid to personally apologize.
“What I said has been interpreted by many as hurtful, insensitive and cold. And hearing from listeners and re-listening to what I said, I can understand why,” he said.
He went on to add, “This is on me. I’m paid as a broadcaster to be concise in what I say. My words on Monday’s show left open way too many interpretations, and I’m the only person responsible for that and the only person to blame. I’ll learn from this mistake. and I’ll work hard to do better. and I hope to one day regain the trust of Coach Reid and the Chiefs organization.”
Kietzman came under fire immediately for his comment Monday, drawing the attention of Chiefs offensive lineman Jeff Allen and ESPN’s Louis Riddick, to name just two. “Whoever this clown is that said this, you are trash for referencing Andy Reid and his family and his son,” tweeted Riddick, a former scout and executive with Reid’s former team, the Philadelphia Eagles. “You don’t ‘fix’ people . . . To speak about another man’s child is out of bounds.”
As the outrage grew Monday night on Twitter, Kietzman said he wasn’t talking about Garrett Reid. Garrett and Britt, another of Reid’s sons, served time in 2007 for drug offenses. At the time of the boys’ sentencing, the judge commented, “This is a family in crisis.” Britt is in his seventh season as a linebackers coach for the Chiefs.
“I never mentioned one word about the tragic death of Andy Reid’s son and quickly corrected a caller who did,” Kietzman tweeted, attempting to fend off social media backlash, after his show Monday. “I was talking about the owner’s record of ‘fixing’ players, the team’s record and Andy’s record. I was referencing the drug addiction and convictions for dealing drugs. When they served time and Reid hired them to work for his football teams, it was no longer a private matter.”
The Washington Post’s Kent Babb profiled Reid and the toll that being an NFL coach can take on a family in January, writing: “Reid tried filling his sons’ hours by naming them ballboys during Eagles games. He attempted to inspire them by arranging discussions with exemplary players. He took them on scouting trips. He pulled them into celebratory locker rooms and important meetings. Sometimes it worked, at least for a while. But when his efforts ultimately failed, he drove Garrett to one detox facility, then another, then another. He offered shelter when Garrett lost 100 pounds and was living in his car. He offered an open mind when Garrett refused to speak to his parents and an open ear when he could no longer take the silence.”
“He did,” one former assistant told Babb, “everything possible to help.”
As with Britt, Reid was famous for the second chance he extended to Michael Vick upon his release from federal prison, giving him a fresh start in the NFL with the Eagles. “He understands from his family,” Tony Dungy, the NBC commentator and former NFL coach, told Babb, “that everybody who has a problem is not a bad person. The lesson that he learned, that I learned.” That meant giving Vick a chance and, consequently, hoping that the quarterback could help the Eagles.
“Andy sees life for what it is,” Vick told Babb, adding that Reid sometimes invited him into meetings and also arranged calls with John Madden and Chris Berman to help Vick get into broadcasting. “A father figure,” Vick said.
At Garrett’s funeral, attendees were struck by how Reid comforted them. “He didn’t flinch,” Riddick recalled to Babb. “You knew he was broken inside. It’s his son. It’s as simple as that. I couldn’t have handled that the same way he did. There were people who were crushed. Devastated. Devastated over it. And the strength that he showed was not of this world.”
Reid missed only two days of work, returning to practice the day after the funeral. “That’s not an easy thing on anybody,” Reid said at the time. “It’s hard for people, but I love doing what I’m doing.”
Kietzman said he was told that Reid was “unavailable,” with NFL teams taking their last few weeks off before training camps open. “I understand,” Kietzman said, adding, “I hope he will accept my apology, but I understand if I’m not completely forgiven.” Reid, he said, is “a man I respect greatly. He deserves better than to have something like this happen that brings up terrible memories.”
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