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Opinion: Chiefs must be transparent about Britt Reid as he's charged with DWI in crash that left a child with brain injuries

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 4/13/2021 Dan Wolken, USA TODAY
a man talking on a cell phone: Britt Reid is no longer an employee of the Kansas City Chiefs. © Mark Brown, Getty Images Britt Reid is no longer an employee of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Since Britt Reid’s drunk driving accident in Kansas City that left a 5-year-old girl with serious brain injuries — just days before the team that employed him played in the Super Bowl — the Chiefs’ public posture about the incident has been notably passive.

Besides canned statements of support for Ariel Young at every development in the case and an acknowledgment that Reid, the son of head coach Andy Reid, was no longer employed as a Chiefs assistant coach, there hasn’t been much transparency from the team about what it has learned from the night of the crash. 

That needs to change — and soon.

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On Monday, Reid was charged with driving while intoxicated, a felony that could potentially imprison him for up to seven years. Now that more details have emerged from the investigation, a civil lawsuit also seems likely as Ariel Young still cannot talk, walk or eat and could face medical complications for the rest of her life. According to the family’s attorney, she was sent home from the hospital earlier this month in hopes that familiar surroundings would help her recover.

Meanwhile, the family has had to rely on GoFundMe donations in excess of $500,000 to help pay significant medical bills.

But the warrant for Reid’s arrest raises questions that need to be answered by the Chiefs about what exactly happened in their building on the night of Feb. 4, before Reid got in his car drunk and forever altered a little girl’s life. 

Though it was always assumed based on the location of the crash on an Interstate on-ramp near Arrowhead Stadium that Reid had just left the practice facility when he plowed into two cars on the side of the road at nearly 83 miles per hour, the charging documents make it clear that Reid told the responding officer at the scene he had just left work. No mention of stopping at a liquor store or a restaurant or a bar, and no specific reference to where he had consumed the drinks. 

When you combine that with the other big revelation from the warrant — his blood alcohol level was .113 roughly two hours after the crash — it suggests a potentially important chain of events: That Reid walked out of the Chiefs’ offices in a significant state of intoxication and directly into his vehicle. Or that Reid wasn't being truthful in telling police he had just left work.

To be clear, we don’t know for sure that he got drunk in the facility. It’s not outlined explicitly in the warrant. 

But it’s absolutely now important in determining whether the Chiefs bear any responsibility in what happened to Ariel Young. 

The story Reid told the officers was that he had a couple of beers before getting behind the wheel. The reality of a .113 blood alcohol level is that he more likely had consumed at least five or six. Missouri's blood alcohol limit is .08.

What, exactly, was happening in the Chiefs’ practice facility three days before the Super Bowl?

It’s not necessarily unusual for coaches who put in long hours to have a drink in the office, but the Chiefs need to lay out publicly exactly who might have known or seen Reid that night and what led up to him getting in that car. 

Were preparations for the big game done that night and everyone was letting loose? Was Reid drinking in his office alone, outside the view of anyone who might have intervened? Who was around at the time, potentially in position to see the state Reid was in and offer a ride or suggest that he call an Uber? . 

The Chiefs, of course, probably know the answer to those questions already. For their own risk management assessment, it would have been irresponsible not to conduct an internal investigation over the last three months about all kinds of potential issues, including whether Reid had gotten drunk at the office prior to Feb. 4. With all their security capability, the Chiefs almost certainly know who was in the building and who would have been the last to see Reid before he got into the car that night. 

But so far, they’ve said nothing, and the NFL has said nothing indicating that the Chiefs are being investigated or sanctioned for anything related to Reid’s behavior. That has to change now. It’s time for transparency on everything, from where Reid was drinking to the circumstances surrounding his employment in the first place. 

Reid, of course, was always a risk for the Chiefs given his problematic past, including drug and DUI charges and a 2007 incident in which he pointed a gun at a motorist in a road rage incident. Years later, he was a beneficiary of nepotism, fortunate that his father would give him the opportunity to be an NFL assistant coach. 

Were there any strings attached to that decision? Was Reid monitored by anyone other than his father? What was the policy on assistants, and this assistant in particular, drinking in the building?

But Monday’s revelations make clear that simply cutting ties with Britt Reid isn’t enough. The Chiefs need to be transparent about whether the tragic chain of events began in their facility and own up to any responsibility that might come with it. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Opinion: Chiefs must be transparent about Britt Reid as he's charged with DWI in crash that left a child with brain injuries

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