By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Is Jerry Remy’s broadcasting career finally over?


Instant update: I am gobsmacked that Remy is in the booth with Don Orsillo right now, Sunday at 1 p.m. That means the NESN announcement did not pertain to today and had nothing to do with the Globe story. Are NESN and the Red Sox really prepared to brazen this out? I guess we’ll find out a week from tomorrow.

It began on Friday with a seemingly trivial item in The Boston Globe’s sports section: Red Sox announcer Jerry Remy would be missing from New England Sports Network for the team’s last two spring-training games, but would be back for Opening Day on March 31.

On Saturday night, we learned the likely reason for Remy’s disappearance from the NESN broadcast booth — a massive, devastating report on Remy’s son Jared, slated for the front page of the Sunday Globe. Although the younger Remy’s notoriety was already well-established because of charges that he murdered his girlfriend, Jennifer Martel, last August, Globe reporter Eric Moskowitz cast the Jared Remy story in a new, horrifying light.

The Globe’s 8,000-word story is fascinating not only because of what’s in it, but because it’s the first time since John Henry bought the paper last fall that its journalism has intersected with Henry’s ownership stake in the Red Sox and NESN. Needless to say, it also has serious implications for Jerry Remy’s career.

Among other things, we learn from Moskowitz that court documents show Jared Remy “terrorized five different girlfriends starting when he was 17” (he’s now 35); that he’s been credibly accused of instigating and taking part in an assault on a high school classmate that left the victim seriously brain-damaged (he later committed suicide); and that he was a longtime abuser of steroids, alcohol and other drugs. (OK, that last part we already knew.)

Worst of all, we learn that Jared Remy was never held accountable — that he was repeatedly given probation and granted chance after chance to turn his life around. And the reason for that, according to Moskowitz’s reporting, was his high-priced legal help, paid for by his enabling parents, Jerry and Phoebe Remy. Moskowitz writes:

Often he benefited from victims who did not want to testify, whether from fear or forgiveness, leading prosecutors to drop the case. But even when cases seemed airtight, judges often rewarded Remy with a nearly free pass — temporary probation without the stain of a guilty finding. Most offenders are lucky to get two such reprieves. He got six.

And on more than 10 occasions while already serving probation or waiting for an earlier case to be resolved, Remy was arrested again on new charges or otherwise ran afoul of the law — a pattern of incorrigibility that would ordinarily get a person locked up.

Former prosecutor Joshua Friedman is quoted as saying Jared Remy benefited more from good lawyering than from having a celebrity father. “You get a high-priced attorney, you get better justice,” Friedman told Moskowitz. “If he had been Jared Smith from a well-off family, he may have gotten the same result.” But Moskowitz’s story leaves little room for doubt that Jerry and Phoebe Remy always erred on the side of leniency with their troubled son, possibly missing opportunities to break the cycle of violence long before Jennifer Martel was killed.

As Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham writes: “Remy wasn’t worthy of one chance, let alone the countless breaks his victims, parents, and judges gave him.”

So what is the likely fallout of Moskowitz’s reporting? Here are three quick thoughts, subject to revision as we find out more in the days ahead.

1. Jerry Remy’s career as a Red Sox broadcaster may have ended today. Remy disappeared from Red Sox games right after Jennifer Martel’s death last August. It wasn’t clear that he would return until January. At that time, Remy said all the right things. But that was hardly enough to inoculate him from stories like the Globe’s.

Remy is a Red Sox legend, both as a broadcaster and as a player before that. He has always been portrayed as a good guy. He’s also a sympathetic character, having overcome lung cancer, depression and other ills. But even though he is not responsible for his son’s actions, the Globe story makes it pretty obvious that his continued presence during Red Sox broadcasts will be an ongoing distraction. It’s time for Remy to go — and to hope that, with the passage of time, he might be able to find some other role.

2. The Globe has definitively staked out its independence from John Henry. Last August, shortly after Henry announced that he intended to purchase the Globe and its related properties from the New York Times Co. for $70 million, Globe editor Brian McGrory took his regular turn on “Boston Public Radio,” on WGBH Radio (89.7 FM). When the subject of how the Globe would cover the Red Sox came up, McGrory told hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan, “John Henry would be out-of-his-mind nuts, and I don’t think he is, if he tried to affect our sports coverage. I get the concern. I understand it fully, [but] I’m not going to be asked to change our coverage.”

The Jared Remy story clearly isn’t a sports story, but I take McGrory’s remarks to be all-inclusive. And, yes, Moskowitz’s article did contain some embarrassing details for the Red Sox, which at one point employed him as a security guard — and let him drive the 2004 World Series trophy to an event in the Berkshires. Naturally, Remy got bagged for driving 92 mph on the Mass Pike.

3. But wait. Maybe the Globe is serving John Henry’s interests after all. See Point No. 1. You’d have to be a conspiracy theorist to think the Globe timed this in order to solve one of Henry’s problems just before the baseball season starts. Still, if NESN made a mistake in letting Remy come back, this gives station officials a chance for a do-over.

More: Several people, including John Carroll in the comments, have told me they think the Globe should disclose the John Henry connection every time it reports on the Red Sox or NESN (excluding baseball games) — and there was no such disclosure today. I’ll admit I’ve reached the point where I assume that only the most clueless don’t already know that. But still — it’s a good policy, and it only takes a line.

Photo (cc) by Eric F. Savage and published under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

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  1. I agree that this is likely the end of Jerry Remy, the broadcaster. This saddens me on two levels: 1) I’ll miss him, and 2) as a parent, my heart goes out to him and his wife. Nowhere is there an instruction manual about how to raise the son from hell. The senior Remys show a lot of love, and not just by paying for fancy lawyers. They also, at least once, tries to steer the cops to Jared in the hope that the cops could straighten him out. It’s easy to call the Remys enablers, and it’s accurate. But I find myself wondering what I’d have done if the universe had dealt me a son like Jared. Would I have done any better? Would any of us?

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Tom: Great comment. I agree with every word.

    • I agree with a lot of what Tom says here, and as a parent of 2 adult children, I don’t know what I would do. If one of my kids went bad, though, should I lose my job?

      • Dan Kennedy

        @Steve: If your job description was “entertainer,” and your personal situation had ruined your entertainment value, even through no fault of your own — then yes. I wish Jerry Remy well, but I don’t want to listen to him yucking it up during Red Sox games anymore.

      • Kevin Peters

        Not just one of your kids. All three of Jerry’s kids have had issues with the law over drinking and romantic entanglements. Something stinks in that house, and the idea that they want custody of Martel’s daughter is beyond the pale.

  2. Rich McCarthy

    Apparently, Remy has a contract with four years remaining. He would have to give that up or NESN would have to pay him. That might be the conspiracy theory behind the article.

    Regarding the Globe not holding back, why such little focus on Jared’s time with the Red Sox? He had a criminal history when he was hired, the article implies that he was hired by the Red Sox as a favor to Jerry after Jared was ordered by the court to get a job, and he kept his job after being in jail for 80 days.

  3. John Carroll

    I know my eyesight isn’t what it used to be, but did the Globe yet again fail to disclose John Henry’s ownership of the paper? If so, it’s at least the fourth time that’s happened.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @John: I am reaching the point where I’m assuming everyone knows it. Your mileage may vary.

      • John Carroll

        Maybe I’m just getting crotchety in my old age, but good, bad, or indifferent, they should disclose every time.

  4. I thought it was a fascinating read, even though I knew most of the overarching incidents, if not the details. But the one thing that really stuck out to me was the situation you refer to, Dan, about the beating of the high school kid who “later committed suicide.” That’s not exactly what Eric wrote and I found his wording odd. “He spiraled through seven dark years before dying at 22 of a gunshot wound ruled a suicide.” In a piece as deep as this, it clearly had to pass legal muster and that was written with a purpose. I wonder what the purpose was.

    • Chris Berard

      The purpose of the article, in my mind, was to expose Jerry and Phoebe’s enabling of Jared. How many times did they bail him out and try and keep things quiet. Jerry and Phoebe are almost as responsible as Jared for Jennifer’s death!

  5. Greetings crotchety gents. Vis-a-vis Globe/Henry disclosure, the Wall Street Journal always references that it is owned by News Corp (and Murdoch) when writing about either in its articles.

  6. Melissa Gorman

    I found interesting that the Globe did not allow commenting on that piece.

  7. Kevin Peters

    Also, with a career OPS of .639 and 7 homers total in ten years, calling Remy a Red Sox legend as a player might be stretching things.

  8. Bill Curtin

    Agree. The trade that sent Don Aase to the Angels for Remy was a bad trade for the Red Sox

  9. Robert DeRosa

    I dined at the restaurant that has licensed Jerry Remy’s name and image a few days before the Globe story was published and felt a little squeamish at the time that my patronage was somehow supporting Jerry Remy’s monster child’s long reign of terror. After reading the story I have decided that the restaurant (which I enjoy) will not have me as a customer until they change the name and formally drop their association with Mr. Remy.

    Also, as much as I like Red Sox baseball, I will not watch (sorry Don Orsillo) the Sox on TV or listen to them (sorry Joe Castig) on the radio until JR has taken his complete and permanent leave from the broadcast booth

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Robert: Why are you boycotting radio?

      • Robert DeRosa

        Dan, I’m boycotting the radio side as part of an economic boycott to pressure them into removing Jerry Remy from the broadcast booth. Since they make money from the radio broadcast, I figure it’s fair game to boycott the radio broadcast as well.

  10. Dianne Foulds

    I think you should do a little more investigating before you print things. “On Saturday night, we learned the likely reason for Remy’s disappearance from the NESN broadcast booth— a massive, devastating report on Remy’s son Jared” is likely incorrect. The more likely reason for Jerry missing this week is the guardianship hearing for his granddaughter. For the record, I don’t agree with you. Yes, he was probably an enabler but he did try to get his son help. Obviously it wasn’t enough and that’s something he will have to live with the rest of his life, but he still has a right to earn a living. As for his “entertainment value” being ruined, that is your opinion, but not necessarily one shared with the majority of Red Sox fans.

    • Devin Berke

      Amen to that…well said.

    • Jan Berlinguet

      This is every parents nightmare… give your kids an awesome tool box….it’s up to them to use it! I can’t really understand why a parent has to be so totally held responsible for one of their offspring. Seriously…how many of us have hated the way we have been brought up…but look at us now! We can’t control everything….as has been witnessed by the unbelievable acts that have been committed by so many young “adults”. So please….let Jerry live his life…and let us enjoy listening to him. Was he not in court and did he not get rights to visit with his granddaughter???

  11. Devin Berke

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions and actions even if they are a tad immature. An argument can be made that the Remy’s enabled their children (honestly, what parent doesn’t? Quite frankly I watch todays contemporary parents enabling their children every day under the “new age” guise of “great parenting”). However, even a well written, informative 8,000 word article can not give us even a fraction of the 35 years of details we would need to make that assessment. So pump the brakes people….you don’t really know what you think (or assume)you know about this situation. What I am sure of is that at some point a human being is and must be judged by his or her own actions. Jared is not some mis-guided youth. He is now a 35 year old grown-ass man.

    I for one can separate my feelings for Jared and his actions and will not take them out on Jerry because I’m feeling arrogant. I can and will listen to Jerry on NESN if he keeps his job and it will not make me feel like I’m contributing to the delinquency of some punk kid that was bad from the day he was born. That sometimes happens and it’s sad. You don’t always need to find fault in another person to quantify that fact.

  12. Aaron Read

    I don’t know how one would research this, but surely Jared Remy is not the first child of a prominent Bostonian celebrity or media figure who repeatedly brushed with the law and got away with it because of their name or their expensive attorney (or both), until one day things went too far and a major felony rap went down.

    In those cases, what happened to the parent’s media career? Did they persevere? Or disappear?

    How can we find this out? Lexis-Nexus?

  13. I don’t get the love for Jerry Remy. He might sound like a great fellow in the broadcast booth, but take it from me, the rest of the time he is an unpleasant person who despises Red Sox fans. He should have never returned to the booth. NESN has enough amazing baseball players who spent more time on the field and played better then Remy did.

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