It was announced on Thursday that the Miami Marlins will be erecting a bronze statue of late pitcher Jose Fernandez. While on the surface this looks like a good way to pay tribute to the fallen star, but this is not a good look for the Marlins or baseball in general. Let me preface this by saying that the tragedy that took place last fall is not lost on me at all and I was devastated to hear the news. That being said, we cannot turn a blind eye to the circumstances around Fernandez’s untimely death.
We now know that Fernandez and his two friends died when their boat struck a grouping of rocks while going at a high speed. However, we found out that Fernandez was believed to have been driving at the time of the crash while drunk and with cocaine in his system.
What kind of message are we sending if we are immortalizing players whose reckless actions cost them their lives as well as the lives of those around them?
Yes we all make mistakes, but we are not all looked up to the way professional athletes are in our society. By immortalizing players like Jose Fernandez we are telling our kids that it doesn’t matter if you’re reckless and take the lives of others as long as you are a successful player.
Not to add insult to insult to injury, but Fernandez only played four seasons in the majors and that is not enough to be remembered forever. Yes there are plenty of examples of players with short careers who we immortalize, but they also contributed off the field.
Jose Fernandez was a very good player with a future as bright as the sun, but we cannot let a short period of on the field dominance overshadow his tragic off the field mistake. So I, and many other baseball fans urge the Miami Marlins to reconsider their decision to immortalize Jose Fernandez because what he did off the field casts a very large shadow over his accomplishments on it.