ESPN and several other major news sources are reporting that the autopsy and toxicology report on Jose Fernandez reveals the presence of both cocaine and alcohol in his system when he died in a boating accident several weeks ago. It is still not known who was driving the boat at the time. While these findings are disturbing, very few of us can probably claim to be surprised.
A superstar has vanished from this planet with no notice. And Jose Fernandez, the promising young pitcher from the Miami Marlins was drunk and using cocaine on the night he talked his friends into going out for a boat ride in the wee hours of the morning.
And we can lament now as we look back and ask ourselves as the tributes came pouring in, and games were canceled, and elaborate ceremonies were held – were we taken for a ride? Or, was this just another indication that we have a real problem in our nation today. And it’s bigger than Jose Fernandez. Because as I write this and you read it, there’s another young and promising person going down. And that takes us out of our comfort zone and we don’t want to hear it.
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Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Prince, Jim Morrison, Jose Fernandez – what is the common thread? Well, one thing that jumps out is that they were all rich and famous. And maybe that’s something that leads one to this kind of irresponsible and destructive behavior. Or, maybe they just use that as an excuse to do whatever the hell they want to and the rest of us and their families be damned.
But mainly, it has to be that feeling that they are invincible. Because according to widely circulated reports, it was Jose Fernandez who was in charge of the party that night, as he was with everything pertaining to his entourage. And he was the one who insisted on that boat ride in spite of objections from all around him at the time.
And you don’t bite the hand that feeds you, right? So no, they don’t get off easy either. In fact, none of do until we reckon with the fact that our children are dying and we have not heard one word spoken from either candidate about the problem in this year’s presidential campaign.
We should be angry at Jose Fernandez not only for what he did to himself, but also for what he did to us in making this elephant in the room reappear with its ugly and resilient tenacity and ability to destroy people’s lives and their families as well.