Top Boston Sports Stories of 2014, No. 11: Jerry Remy returns to Red Sox booth shortly before son pleads guilty to murder

December 25, 2014 - 12:08 pm
Over the final days of the year, will count down the top 14 stories of 2014 in Boston sports. This is No. 11: NESN Red Sox announcer Jerry Remy returns to the booth shortly before his son pleads guilty to murder. To read other stories in this series, click here. [caption id="attachment_35298" align="alignright" width="350"] Jerry Remy's decision to return to the booth rekindled the debate over his role enabling his son's violent behavior. (Larry Johnson/[/caption] Not many Boston sports figures had it harder than Jerry Remy in the first half of 2014. The longtime NESN broadcaster found himself consumed by his internal struggle, along with heated debate on the outside, as to whether or not he should return to the booth for the 2014 Red Sox season in the wake of his son, Jared, being charged with first-degree murder in the death of live-in girlfriend Jennifer Martel in August 2013. Jared Remy was charged with fatally stabbing Martel, the mother of their 4-year-old daughter, on Aug. 15, 2013. Remy pleaded not guilty at the time and was held without bail, with a trial set to begin in October. Jerry Remy took a leave of absence following the incident and didn't return to the broadcast booth for the remainder of the Red Sox' World Series run. Remy announced at a news conference in January that he would be returning to the Red Sox broadcast booth for the 2014 season. He said he was leaning toward not returning to the booth as late as New Year's Day, but opted to return after gaining support from his close friends along with his wife, Phoebe. "It'€™s always been my comfort zone, for 40 years. I can'€™t sit there. I just can'€™t sit in my chair. I've been there long enough already,"€ Remy said at the time. "€œI've got to be busy. I've got to do something to preoccupy myself. I need to do something I enjoy. And this is what I enjoy doing and I always have. I've done it for 26 years. This will be No. 27 as an announcer. I still enjoy it. I'€™m not crazy about the 4 o'€™clock arrivals, but the game itself I truly love, and I always have and I still do, and that'€™s not going to go away. So hopefully it will be therapeutic in some ways." Remy returned to the NESN booth alongside play-by-play man Don Orsillo in spring training with his son still facing murder charges. The discussion from the booth was centered around baseball, as Remy said it would be. But the debate over whether or not Remy should return took a dramatic twist on March 23 when an extensive Boston Globe story detailed Jared Remy's long history of run-ins with the law, primarily involving domestic abuse allegations. The Globe article painted Jerry and Phoebe as enablers for their troubled son as his constant legal troubles resulted in just one short jail term thanks to the help of a high-priced lawyer hired by the Remys. Just five days after the report came out, Remy told Dennis & Callahan he tried to get his son treated for his mental issues but never considered stopping his support of him. "I told you in the past, the last time we talked, yes, of course we did [enable him]," Remy said. "What are we guilty of? We'€™re guilty of getting him lawyers when he was in trouble. We were well aware of what was going on with Jared. And we tried our best to do everything along the way to get him as much help as we possibly could. And then for a stretch it seemed like he had his life in order. And then of course everything caved in. "€œDid we enable him? Yes. We paid for lawyers, we paid for psychiatrists, we paid for the help that we thought he needed. I think a lot of families would have done the same thing. Others would not have, others would have thrown him out on the street. But that just wasn't our way. Now when you look back on it, what was the right thing to do? I don'€™t have an answer for that. I really don'€™t have an answer for that."€ The report drew negative responses directed at Jerry Remy. Some media members suggested he not return to the booth as a result of these reports, or at least delay his return until after the trial to not serve as a distraction to fans during Red Sox broadcasts. Remy, however, stuck with his decision to return to the booth and was back for the start of the 2014 season. On May 27, Jared Remy plead guilty to first-degree murder in Martel's death, accepting a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. He entered his plea before Middlesex Superior Court Judge Kathe Tuttman. "€œI would like to say, blame me for this and not my family," Remy said before his sentencing, adding: "€œIf you asked my family, they'€™d rather have me dead than her.'€" Jerry Remy returned to the NESN booth the next night, spared the burden of a trial and a seemingly ongoing saga.