There was considerable negative response to my comments yesterday concerning my dismay at the turnout by Reds players for the visit to the National Naval Medical Center. I was upset that out of a group of over 30 players and coaches, only 8 were named as making the trip to Bethesda (Casey, Dunn, Kearns, Junior, Standridge, Weathers, Berry, and Narron).
The article was part of John FayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Reds Notebook.
I made it very clear how highly I thought of these 8 individuals for taking the time to visit these heroes who have given so much.
The biggest objection to my comment was that I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know the entire story, so I was making a judgment without having all the information.
This was true, I only had the information the Enquirer saw fit to print about the visit. So, today I contacted NRMC and talked to Mike Grinage in their police department. He told me that groups like sports teams are not given a limit on the number of people that can come to visit the troops.
I also contacted Reds PR Director, Rob Butcher, who told me that there was no limit on how many they could bring, Ã¢â‚¬Å“though a number higher than we had (12 of us) would not have been manageableÃ¢â‚¬Â. I emailed him back and asked him what he meant by being unmanageable and he said,Ã¢â‚¬Â The group we had was terrific. The troops we visited clearly were touched. There is no need to make anything negative out of the visit.Ã¢â‚¬Â I again asked him to clarify his statement and received no further response.
So, now we know they were not limited in how many people they could bring and of the Reds traveling party (and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how many that is), 12 saw fit to attend, of which only 6 were players. That is 6 players out of a roster of 25. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wonderful that Berry, Narron, Butcher, and some other non-players went, but their presence probably didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have the effect on these wounded service personnel that a few more players would have had.
Another complaint was that the players might have had Ã¢â‚¬Å“other commitmentsÃ¢â‚¬Â.
Again, true. They could have. But I feel that persons in highly public positions like professional athletes should feel a sense of duty to the community. I know that many have their own community service interests. But this one was pretty important. I feel like it should have been considered almost a Ã¢â‚¬Å“requiredÃ¢â‚¬Â community service commitment. For someone to have Ã¢â‚¬Å“other commitmentsÃ¢â‚¬Â rather than going on this trip, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d have to be pretty important. I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t imagine what would have been more important than this visit.
The last complaint was that this was basically Ã¢â‚¬Å“much ado about nothingÃ¢â‚¬Â.
I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t disagree more. I am appalled at the number of people that donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t understand or short change the sacrifices that people in the military make every day for every one of us. People that donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t understand or respect the job that these people volunteered to do, so that the rest of us wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to. And of that very special group of people, these are the people that have sacrificed the most, that have paid a huge price for us, so that we can go to work every day feeling safe, so that we can conduct our lives in freedom and security, so that these players can adored by millions of people and make incredible amounts of money for playing a game. I think there should have been very close to 100% attendance at this event. I think they owed it to those men and women in that hospital.
There is an inscription on a memorial that that is included on the film shown during the Star Spangled Banner at the Dragons gamesÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ it says, Ã¢â‚¬Å“All gave some, some gave allÃ¢â‚¬Â.
I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know how to say it any better than that.