From a Pink Hat: Jerry Remy Should Step Down

I am a Red Sox fan. I owned the “Impossible Dream” album, knew every word to the Carl Yazstremski song sung by Jess Cain, and cried every time I listened to the awful call as Tony Conigliaro lay motionless in the dirt after being hit by a pitch.  I know that when someone makes a “deer-in-the-headlights” reference, they are talking about Calvin Schiraldi. I have followed the team faithfully since 2003, the year that Big Papi joined the team and we went to game 7 of the ALCS, when Grady Little joined John McNamara in bad decision-making history, and Aaron Freakin’ Boone got behind Buckey Bleepin’ Dent in the long line of hated Yankees. 

But that short span, that mere decade, makes me a pink hat. The pejorative term, used by Boston’s sports talk radio hosts when referring to a Johnny-come-lately, an ignorant, or fair-weather fan, derives from the fact that you can now buy Red Sox gear in colors other than the official navy (or red or green if it’s St. Patrick’s Day). Never mind that only women who wear the merchandise get to wear the derogatory title, not the marketing wizards at Major League Baseball. The name marginalizes women. It’s sexism.  Subtle, yes, but the implication is that we are less than true fans.

Which brings me to the awful case of Jared Remy, who in August of 2013 murdered his girlfriend Jennifer Martel in front of the couple’s five-year old daughter. The Boston Globe’s Erik Moskowitz conducted an exhaustive review of hundreds of pages of police records and court documents involving Remy, and interviewed nearly 40 people who knew him, many of whom said they’d been terrorized by him.  Moskowitz’ reporting brought to light the history of Remy’s violence against women, and the details of his more than 20 arrests–20 ARRESTS!!

Sexism was certainly hard at work in the police departments, the legal system, and the mainstream media that gave protection to both Jared and Jerry Remy, rather than to the women who needed it. Perhaps Jerry Remy’s celebrity played a part in the leniency shown to his son. But there are too many cases just like this, of women beaten and worse, examples of what the Hampshire Gazette called “the insidious disregard for the lives of women.”

As a mother, I have enormous sympathy for Jerry and Phoebe Remy.  I believe they did what they thought they could for their son, and I feel Jerry Remy’s pain when he says he failed. It is grossly unfair that they be judged for what their son did. But I agree with the Globe, now owned by Red Sox principal owner John Henry, that Remy needs to delay his return to the broadcast booth.  Jared Remy’s trial is currently scheduled for October, and the editorial calls for Remy to step down at least until the trial is over.

Jerry Remy took most of the regular 2009 season off because of severe depression following his cancer diagnosis.  I missed him. He took more time off early in 2013 for his health, and again late in that championship season when his son was arrested. He needs to take time off now, perhaps permanently. It’s true, as Jerry Remy says, that he has a right to make a living. But I want to watch Red Sox games for entertainment, for relaxation, for the sheer joy that baseball brings me.  I want to be a fan, no matter the color of my Red Sox hat, without the constant reminder that to so many, I am somehow less.


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