What fool hath added water to the sea
Or brought a torch to bright-burning Troy?
My grief was at the height before thou camest,
And now like Nilus, it disdaineth bounds.
Titus Andronicus 3.1
In the quote above, Titus has already had several tragedies befall his family when he learns of the horrible things that have been done to his daughter Lavinia.
While the situations are clearly different, these lines came to my mind in November when Fox Sports Detroit announcer Ken Daniels made public the details of how his son Jamie died at the age of 23.
It’s one thing to lose a child; If you listed the worst things that could ever happen to a person, that would be at or near the top of the list.
Losing a child to the consequences of addiction may be even tougher. Even though it may be unfair, human nature often plagues those left behind with thoughts of “what if I did more? Could I have saved him?”
But, as Daniels has revealed, Jamie’s death had yet another layer of tragedy. It was caused by the greed of those who take advantage of people trying to get clean.
Jamie Daniels died trying to get clean.
He died with his family doing everything possible to support him.
And his father is doing everything in his power to prevent this from happening to other people.
At 9AM ET on Sunday April 8th, ESPN will air a documentary on their E:60 program that tells what happened to Jamie Daniels and how people are taking advantage of others at their weakest point, in order to make some money.
Daniels told part of the story to The Athletic’s Craig Custance in November. (This article is available to non-subscribers).
Jamie became addicted to opioids, like many do, from a painkiller prescription after his wisdom teeth were extracted. This is a common story nationwide: many people addicted to opioids start with a legal prescription. The Athletic article goes into more detail on the insurance scam that takes advantage of people like Jamie.
I’ve never met Ken, but I had the opportunity to interview him for our Fer Sure podcast, along with Jay Tuohey and JJ. We were having trouble getting a good signal for him because he was on his way to a wedding in Toronto. We had to try several times, and he could have easily used it as an excuse to blow off the interview.
But he continued to work on figuring it out, then gave us 30 minutes of his time. It remains the high point for me with the podcast. We didn’t go into detail about his son, but I was able to pass along the condolences and well-wishes of our community, which meant a lot to me to be able to do so, and I hope meant as much to him.
Opioid addiction is a major problem in America, and it’s not unusual to know someone who is battling it or who has died as a result. When someone makes the decision to get treatment, we should make sure that they have the resources available to come out the other side.
I don’t pretend to understand a fraction of what Ken Daniels and his family have been through, but it must be incredibly difficult to re-live the worst moment in one’s life on purpose. I’ve always admired him as a broadcaster, and I admire him even more for using this tragic story to expose the people responsible and to ensure that this doesn’t take one more life.
I will be watching this Sunday morning, and I hope you take the time to either watch it live or record it.