These days when the famous disappoint it is almost something we expect. We read about sports figures lying or cheating via performance enhancing drugs as well as politicians and movies stars who bed hop or do jail time. We are no longer stunned. Angry and disgusted-- yes, shocked-- no. It has become all too common. It is easy to become jaded about our heroes.
Those of us who have lived long and seen too much, expect so little anymore.
But then there is always someone one who seems to stand above the fray. Someone that can manage fame along with the Norman Rockwell image of decency and family. They restore our hope. Dan Marino was my hope but that expectation took a hit with these headlines.
For most sports figures, that headline would be a no-brainer and half ways expected. However,I thought this man was different. His main image besides being a Hall of Fame quarterback was that of a devoted family man, father of 6 and a tireless worker raising money for Autism research. He and his wife have an autistic son.
When I look up and to my left on my wall, there is his image as he is dropping back to pass. For 17 seasons, Dan played for the Miami Dolphins. He owned the record books for passing and made watching his play, win or lose, a jaw dropping joy.
Slowly some of his records are falling to the side as the new young studs glory in breaking a Marino record, however many still stand today. He made me a football fan and when he retired after the 1999 season, much of the fun of football for me was gone.
Fortunately I could still get my Marino fix on Sunday during football season as he and 4 others did the NFL pregame show for CBS. Then on January 31st, oddly his 28th wedding anniversary, he admitted in a letter to a newspaper to the affair that produced a now 7 year old child.
According to the reports, the announcement was not news to Dan's wife. She has known for some time and they have since repaired their marriage. His admission was in response to a breaking story someone had dug up.
The mother of Dan's love child has since married and Dan gave her millions as part of a settlement for hush money and child support years ago. I guess if there is saving grace, it was how he put the affair behind him, took care of his daughter and worked hard to repair his marriage. For that I definitely respect him.
I will still watch my formerly squeaky clean hero on his broadcasts during football season, but it will be with just a touch of sadness. That bright light he cast has dimmed a bit.
"Handsome Dan" as James Brown, the host of that pregame show, calls him was sacked, but he got up , brushed the dirt off and did the right thing. I will try not to judge him by that fumble but by his recovery.
Has a hero of yours ever let you down?