Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Charlie Monfort's DUI arrest shows how deep the issue goes for the Colorado Rockies owner

Charlie Monfort's issues are no longer a secret. 
It has been one of the worst kept secrets in Denver sports. Colorado Rockies owner Charlie Monfort fell off the wagon.

For years, the Rockies owners were referred to as the Monfort's. Plural. At about the beginning of the 2011 season, suddenly Charlie was out of the picture. Media interviews were going through Dick. The older brother had taken the reins as the acting president, and Charlie's role seemed to be non-existent.

The Rockies, for obvious reasons, did their best to keep the issue out of the spotlight. Charlie, who was never a stranger to alcohol, was letting the vice crawl back into his life after seemingly kicking the habit for several years. After his 1999 arrest while driving well over twice the legal limit, he found religion. Bob Nightengale's 2006 USA Today piece on the Rockies religion stemming from the top down paints Charlie as author of the club's focus on Christian players and principles.

Not that a Christian can't have and doesn't have issues, but clearly the Charlie Monfort from the 2006 piece in the USA Today isn't the same one that appears with a silly smile in a Weld County mugshot today.

I had the opportunity to cover the Rockies for the Colorado Springs Gazette on September 25th, the last home game, and the Todd Helton celebration. The night was unbelievable. In a season that made it easy to criticize nearly everything that the Rockies did, no one in the stadium was critical of the Rockies on that night. The team gave up 15 runs in the game, however, the way they honored Helton was beyond touching. Words are hard to describe how well the Rockies celebrated that night.

However, in the clubhouse, just 20 feet away from Helton, who was getting dressed for the last time at Coors Field, Charlie Monfort walked up to Mark Kiszla, a Denver Post columnist, and wobbling from the alcohol, tried to pick a fight. It is no secret that Kiszla has been hard on the Rockies, but Monfort's attack was unprovoked. It left a bad taste in the mouth after a great night.

Shocked by what I had witnessed, I made mention of it on Twitter. I didn't expect it to blow up the way it did, but looking back on it, it makes sense that it was such a big deal.

What was interesting about it was the reaction the next day. Based on Kiszla's comments on his radio show, and some of the phone calls I was getting about the incident suggested that I had done something wrong. Kiszla was upset that I had gone to Twitter without his permission. One phone call I got from another Rockies analyst suggested that the Rockies front office may revoke my ability to cover the team in the future because of how much they have tried to keep Charlie's issues a secret.

Without naming names, another media member who witnessed the incident, flat out denied knowing anything about it on the radio the next day. Apparently I broke an unwritten rule that certain things don't get mentioned.

Suddenly, and not surprisingly, Charlie gets arrested for drunk driving and everyone is hoping he gets the help that he needs. Great. I hope he gets the help that he needs as well. But the elephant in the room is hard to ignore at this point.

It was no secret that Charlie Monfort needed major help for his drinking problem. It wasn't something that was a minor concern anymore, it was something so apparent that he couldn't even avoid picking a drunken fight with a columnist. The media was well aware of Charlie's issues, the team was well aware of his issues, yet they did nothing about them.

This exhibits a larger issue in society. The idea that it isn't our problem, it's his problem and we should simply let him deal with it. Well, that idea works great until Monfort goes and decides he is fine to drive drunk. Like many DUIs before him, it is often said that it was a good thing the cops stopped him before he ran into someone innocent.

If Charlie had run into an innocent victim. If he had killed someone simply making their way home, or wiped out a family, the media would have rightfully crucified Charlie Monfort. However, as what point would they share in the blame?

Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely believe that Charlie's issues are 100 percent on Charlie. He has to take personal responsibility for the decisions he makes. No one is responsible for his DUI expect for himself. However, maybe it is time that the media stops ignoring the clear issues in front of them in the name of keeping their sources in good standing, or making sure they don't ruffle any feathers so that they can get stories.

Charlie Monfort's issues are well known, yet they were ignored because of unwritten rules and the fear that the team could take away critical access. At what point is it important for the media to challenge the team on stances like that? If the Rockies are going to take access away from someone who points out an obvious problem, they should be ashamed of themselves, and they should expect terrible press in response to that.

Instead, everyone gives in to the pressure and ignores clear issues.

It is time for Charlie Monfort to get his life in order. His decisions aren't only effecting him. He is clearly living recklessly and needs the people closest to him to intervene.

The worst kept secret in Denver sports is now out in the open. It is time for the Rockies to stop trying to hide it and get their owner some help. Ignoring it didn't help anything, it only made things worse, both for Charlie and for the franchise.

It is time for the Rockies, like Charlie, to take the first step and be open and honest about what is really going on. Charlie is a raging alcoholic. The first step to recovery is admitting it.

Follow me on Twitter @RockiesReview. Like me on Facebook, search "Rockies Review"

1 comment:

  1. What a drunk! I can't stand when people think their local celebrity status is above the law and continue to make bad decisions. Grow up!