Dying to be a father: the silence after the death of Darryl Hamilton

It appeared that sports media had found, to borrow the favored SJW straw-man, “the perfect (male) victim” in the form of Darryl Hamilton.

Hamilton played 13 scandal and controversy free years in Major League Baseball, considered an asset for several teams in a distinguished, if not superstar, athletic career. He parleyed this career into a successful post-playing career in the sport, as a radio and television analyst and MLB League Office employee.

Universally admired, he had custody of sons from a previous marriage and by all accounts had an exemplary character. Unlike Tiger Woods and Steve McNair, there was no illicit affair which could be used to make this case of “moral hazard,” to obscure the severe domestic violence committed.

Courtesy WITI-TV
Courtesy WITI-TV

In the aftermath of his murder at the hands of his youngest son’s mother, the template for  the narrative was laid out like instructions on the back of a Bisquick box.

“Abusive, arsonist mom has to share custody with retired baseball player and devoted dad, murders him two days later on Father’s Day.” After all, Monica Jordan cut a similar figure of one Crystal Gayle Mangum, late of the Duke Lacrosse hoax. After receiving the severe penalty of nothing for her actions, she went on to set fire to a home with her kids in it. Oh, and there was the small matter of the murder of Reginald Daye, for which she will be out in time to have even more unfortunate offspring. Not to be out-Left Eyed, Ms. Jordan set her estranged husband’s home alight in 2008. For this she received the onerous term of 240 community service hours and probation.

It’s not as if simple, pat narratives are anathema to national noise machine. Heck, they’re often accurate. When Rae Carruth put a hit out on his pregnant ex-girlfriend in 2000, the motive was pretty clear. OJ Simpson was driven to rage at the thought, and the sight, of his “prized possession” Nicole gallivanting with other men. Ray Rice was a “raging, patriarchal beast who was let off the hook easy by the criminal justice system, which turns a blind eye to revenue generators who brutalize women.”

So how did sports media choose to approach the death of a man who appears to have died because he had the temerity to think himself entitled to a shared custodial relationship with his son?

Did the major outlets seek to “open conversations” about gender parity in domestic violence? Was there any talk of “entitlement culture” that  teaches women that children are their de facto property in the event of relationship dissolution? After all, when Kansas City Chiefs’ linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend and mother of this child, Kassandra Perkins, then drove to the team practice facility and turned the gun on himself, it triggered a month-long, out front national dialogue and calls to action, such as from Jemele Hill, as well as  the sober reflections on whether the “culture of football” predisposes men to harming women. Indeed, it’s hard not to imagine the corpses of these two young people disintegrating, the sports gender grievance minions having (mis)used them springboards to push their one-sided agenda before they were properly embalmed.

Were there cries not to let Monica Jordan off the hook? Was Jordan’s prior domestic violence victim, magnanimous enough to ask that she not get jail time, sought for one of those maudlin pieces on Outside The Lines, or even the network morning shows, the way prior victims of male abusers are. What about harsh criticism of District Attorney Jeri Yenne in the prior case, who  offered  non-jail plea. Was she asked if she leveled an objection when Jordan’s 10 years of probation was terminated after little more than a year? Will we one day be treated to a salacious Sports Illustrated cover story like the recent one Jon Wertheim penned on former baseball player and full-time slug Milton Bradley?

Of course, the foregoing questions are all rhetorical; to ask them is to answer them. On the bright side, maybe we are seeing an improvement. After all, we didn’t question his manhood, like we did with Jennifer Capriati’s victim. His death wasn’t called “absolutely fabulous” by a daytime panel-talk personality. We didn’t turn his misfortune into fount for humor about which Perkin’s “Pies” he “Poked” (Tiger Woods), nor ask openly if he got what he deserved (Steve McNair).

No, if you’re a prominent man of character, with few foibles, who happens to be on the business end of extreme domestic violence, you’ll never be the catalyst for a larger discussion. The best you can hope for is a few gracious remembrances and a sonorous obituary in your local paper.

Darryl Hamilton is indeed the perfect male domestic violence victim. He is no longer alive to speak, and no one in his fields of endeavor will speak for him and what his death represents.

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