Three days prior, lives were forever altered when Kansas City assistant coach Britt Reid, who admitted to police he had been drinking, slammed his truck into Miller’s Chevy Traverse on the side of a highway interchange. Miller had gone there to aid a cousin, who had run out of gas on the side of the road. Reid, the son of Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, hit the cousin’s car as well.
Among the injured was Ariel, who according to family, suffered swelling and bleeding in and around the brain. She has been in a coma since the incident. A 4-year-old girl, Ariel’s cousin, was also seriously injured.
“Ariel remains in the hospital in critical condition and is not awake,” her aunt, Tiffany Verhulst, wrote Sunday on a GoFundMe she set up for Miller, a single, working mother of three, to offset what will be significant medical bills and lost earnings. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Miller can't even be surrounded by a parade of loved ones offering support. She is a mother, mostly alone in hell.
This is a GoFundMe that shouldn’t exist. As of Monday, the family has raised over $300,000, mostly through small donations – $10, $20, $35 a pop. It was the community, in Kansas City and beyond, rising up to help.
By now, either the Reid family, who have made tens of millions coaching in the NFL, or the Hunt family, billionaires who own the Chiefs, should have stepped up and said they would cover all costs. As of midday Monday, the Miller family said they haven’t heard from either party.
At the very least, one of the Chiefs’ employees, a nepotism hire with a history of legal and substance abuse problems, had a couple drinks and destroyed this family's life. At worst, this is a DUI case with significant questions hanging over it, most notably: Was Britt Reid drinking inside the team’s offices and who, if anyone, knew about it?
The toxicology results aren’t back yet and within the legal system, Britt Reid maintains his innocence. The Chiefs are worldly enough to know, however, that when the police say when someone has bloodshot eyes and alcohol on their breath and that person admits to drinking before getting behind the wheel, the conclusion is all but forgone.
Medical bills can be covered without the organization admitting liability. Even if it couldn’t, the Hunts are worth an estimated $15 billion. They can afford to do the decent thing here.
The question is if they recognize it.
So far, the team has issued just a brief, terse and fairly heartless statement noting that “our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved.”
It isn’t enough.
Britt Reid didn’t coach in the Super Bowl, he himself is hospitalized after requiring surgery following the crash. He’s still employed by the team.
"My heart goes out to that young lady,” Andy Reid said Monday morning. “I'm also a dad so I get that so I have concerns obviously on both sides … That little girl, my heart goes out to her."
Andy Reid is, understandably, in a terrible situation. His son may be in enormous trouble. That is considerable stress for any father. He has a reputation as a caring person.
Still, there are questions about why Britt was the team’s outside linebackers coach to begin with and, depending on how the investigation goes, what exactly is happening inside Reid’s football offices.
In a search warrant request, officers wrote the 35-year-old failed basic sobriety checks and acknowledged that he had “2-3 drinks” before driving. Britt also said he was taking prescription Adderall. Their investigation is ongoing.
In 2007, Britt was sentenced to 23 months in prison in Pennsylvania for his role in a road-rage incident that included driving under the influence, possession of a controlled substance and the brandishing of a gun. He also pleaded guilty to DUI and drug possession in a separate incident. He served five months.
He worked for the Philadelphia Eagles then. He has been with the Chiefs since 2013, when his father became head coach. Even in the old boy network of the NFL coaching ranks, this employment – from prison to assistant coach – is extraordinary.
Due to the NFL’s strict COVID protocols, Britt Reid was unlikely to have visited a bar, a restaurant or even stopped at a friend’s house that day. Doing so would have cost him a chance to coach in the Super Bowl, not to mention potentially cause any player or coach he was in contact with to miss it as well.
The crash occurred near the Chiefs’ facility, where Britt Reid was presumably working that day. According to public records, he resides in Overland Park, Kansas, some 30 miles away. The accident occurred at the interchange between Interstates 70 and 435, the most obvious route home.
NFL buildings have extensive security cameras and in-house investigators. The Chiefs almost certainly already know when he left the building. They may know almost everything he did while inside of it.
If Britt Reid drove directly from the office to that crash site, then that means the “2-3 drinks” he admitted to, if not more, were consumed while at work. Was it done in secret?
Legally, the organization doesn’t have to say anything. Liability issues are, of course, everywhere. Lawsuits are assuredly coming. This is a private company.
Staying quiet and not helping is within the Chiefs’ rights. It doesn’t mean it would be right.
Andy Reid and Clark Hunt owe Felicia Miller an answer. They owe Ariel an answer. They owe Kansas City an answer because as popular as football is and as exciting as a Super Bowl can be, it is still just football.
This sad and terrible story is nowhere near over. All eyes on this little girl battling to live, battling to just wake up. All eyes on her family raising money for their new, crushing reality.
And all eyes on the circumstances that caused this tragedy and the powerful people who can help the most, and reveal the truth, at least if they choose to do so.
Super Bowl LV from Yahoo Sports: