The Feesh open the 2017 campaign today against the Gnats, and every member of the squad will be wearing Number Sixteen patches for the entire season to honor Jose Fernandez.
Look, everyone who reads these comments regularly knows I’ve argued on many occasions here that his otherwise remarkable life shouldn’t be reduced to the awful mistakes he made early one morning last September.
But neither do I think now that the painstakingly researched official report has been released that Jose was drunk and coked up and personally drove that boat into the jetty, killing himself and his friends, he has earned the honor of having his number patched onto the uniforms of the entire team. The hard truth is that Jose committed a serious felony. It would have landed him in jail for years had he survived. He destroyed two other families and left his daughter fatherless in the process. I also don’t doubt that if he had lived he would have been properly banned from the game for the rest of his life.
Jose may have been the heart and soul of the Feesh in his lifetime and a kind, generous and even heroic soul in other compartments of his life, but his actions on that fatal night shouldn’t be overlooked. Unfortunately, that’s what this honorary patch is asking us to do. I don’t think this sends a very healthy message to the fans of the team – especially the younger ones – nor to anyone else, for that matter.
The Feesh are asking us to wink at mortally criminal behavior. I refuse to do so. So should everyone else.