Here’s hoping everyone keeps their eye on the ball with this Josh Hamilton story. It’s not about journalistic integrity or Deadspin’s place in the media or whether or not A.J. Daulerio is going to hell. Like it or not, a blog broke a story that every news outlet from the New York Times to the Dallas Morning News to ESPN would have and now will run with.
This is about Josh Hamilton the con artist. The man who was given a second and third and who knows how many opportunities to clean up his act because of his ability to hit a baseball. Most addicts don’t get that many chances. Josh did. And he became an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people batting all types of addiction all over the country. Do a Google search and you’ll find an endless number of personal blogs of addicts who consider Hamilton a hero.
Now he looks like a fraud to his fans, the Texas Rangers, Major League Baseball and most importantly, his wife, who probably had no idea there were pictures involved during her husband’s one-night relapse.
It’s not just that he fell off the wagon one night in January. That happens. It’s that his face is spray painted on the side of the wagon. Hamilton is supposed to be the poster boy for overcoming addiction. He never mentioned anything about this in April when ESPN ran its “Homecoming with Rick Reilly” program and thrust him back into the national spotlight. The show was heart-warming. This is a heart-wrenching.
He could have come right out and said exactly what he said today. He could have warned everyone that it doesn’t matter who you are, this type of thing can happen to anyone. Instead, he let the public think what they wanted to think. He let ESPN fawn all over him. He admitted nothing, at least not publicly, until Deadspin ran those pictures. And for the record, the story might be that he informed both his wife and the Rangers of his slip up right away, but why did his personal assistant Johnny Narron tell Deadspin that he would be shocked if the pictures were real?
It sounds more like Hamilton took the route many of his peers have taken when it comes to steroid: Say nothing until you’re caught.
Well, now that he was caught, this is a story that shouldn’t just disappear because he’s a good interview and a nice guy. And the lord can’t be his crutch for everything. He needs to explain how he could have the audacity to suggest that he was unhappy with a Rangers contract extension offer in March knowing that his team knew what happened only two months before.
He needs to explain how he can still look at himself in the mirror every morning knowing he makes $10,000-$20,000 per speaking appearance to tell his story and inspire everyone under the sun when he knows that he isn’t being honest.
Hamilton is basically the TV Evangelist who preaches one way of life and lives in a completely opposite way. He’s convincing the way con artist addicts usually are and we believed him because we wanted to believe him. Because we all know someone who has lost battles with addiction and we all wished they could have turned out like Hamilton.
We’ve all been had. For that, Hamilton has a lot more explaining to do.