The more we find out about the hours and days leading up to Josh Hancock's death the more it seems he had some issues with alcohol (and perhaps marijuana which we have confirmed was in his car at the time of his accident). The toxicology report may be released as early as Friday. That should tell us how compromised Hancock may have been at the time of the accident. It's a tough situation to report on. IF he was legally intoxicated then reporting on the details of his evening is fair game. That's the norm with people in the public eye. I'm in a job that opens me to the same kind of scrutiny should I break the law. But, I also believe there is a limit to how much we are ENTITLED to know. When a public figure breaks the law, it's news and the events leading to the action should be investigated. But it doesn't mean every aspect of his life should be open for examination. That's just what I believe, despite the fact that I work in this business.
If toxicology shows an elevated amount of alcohol, then the Cardinals have to acknowledge it. Not take the blame for it but perhaps actively attempt to reinforce how dangerous drinking and driving is. Maybe spearhead a Public Service Announcement campaign. That would turn a tragedy into a life lesson. But, we should stop short of assuming that the Cardinals are somehow to blame. The team is like any business---made up of diverse individuals. It's not up to Tony Larussa or Bill Dewitt or Walt Jocketty to police all 25 players and stay on top of their lifestyle choices. No more than it's Allan Cohen's duty to keep track of what I do in my time away from the station. If I break the law tomorrow, it's not Allan's fault. He's not to blame, I am. That shouldn't change just because we're talking about high profile athletes. A 29 year old man is responsible for his own decisions. IF--IF Hancock's own decisions led to his death, then he alone is to blame. Not the Cardinals and not the bartender serving him. It doesn't mean he deserved to die, that's truly a shame. But, let's lay the blame where it belongs and leave it at that. All too often, we look for scapegoats when the person we should blame is no longer around to accept that blame.
Speaking in general terms here, it is inexcusable for individuals to drive while heavily intoxicated. And I don't care that it puts that person at risk. I care about the death and destruction to innocent people. I applaud the people who stand up and admit they have problems and turn their lives around. That's admirable. But all too often, our focus (we in the media are especially guilty) is on those who have eliminated dangerous behavior. It's too bad that we don't spend more time praising and honoring those who make good decisions all their lives. Just one very imperfect man's thoughts.