I used to get upset with the late sports editor of the St. Louis Globe Democrat. Bob Burnes tended to use the word tragic so incorrectly.
If the Cardinals would lose three in a row, he’d say that was tragic.
When Dan McLaughlin, young up-and-coming broadcaster the second time in one year, I’d describe that as traumatic or even really tragic.
Because, now he’s letting his family down—his beautiful wife Libby and their four young children living in Chesterfield. Earning a living describing sports could be going rapidly down the drain.
His poor decisions to reportedly drink and drive are forcing bosses and decision-makers to make anguishing choices about his future, something they’d rather not have to do.
McLaughlin is more a blue-collar type of guy. His late dad was a school teacher. I’m sure the family had to scrape a few dollars together to make sure he was properly educated at Vianney High, which he was.
He cut his teeth in sports interning with KMOX-Radio and broadcasting anything that would move at KCLC Radio at then-Lindenwood College (now University).
He is noted for two distinctive traits:
- He was an incredibly hard worker and focused like a laser beam on his assignments.
- Frankly, he started out working for cheap, and higher-ups appreciated that.
And that is all very tragic, because he is so talented and affable. He is definitely a friend to all. Now, he’s at the precipice of seeing his career go up in flames. The Good Ship Dan McLaughlin could wind up crashed on the rocks.
He’s raised countless dollars supporting benefit events, mostly golf tournaments for a variety of causes, including his own annual event to benefit the Special Education Foundation.
In the press box at Busch Stadium or the bowels of Scottrade Center, he always had a time to say hello and kibitz, knowing he was about to go on the air in a matter of minutes.
He could do it all. Polished and poised, always dressed-to-the-nines in Brooks Brother suits and natty ties, he presented an aura of great knowledge, skill and confidence on the air. He called games for the Cardinals and Blues; Mizzou and the Missouri Valley. It just seemed like he was cloned and was everywhere.
Now, he’s reduced people like Fox Sports Midwest Senior VP Jack Donovan to saying things such as: “We take this matter seriously and we have suspended Dan McLaughlin and he will not be making any appearances on Fox Sports Midwest.”
Painful and carefully crafted words from a thoughtful veteran decision-maker.
The minute I heard of the second arrest for DWI, I immediately thought of the fallen U.S. Congressman Anthony Wiener from New York.
Here was a guy, handsome and well spoken, with a beautiful wife and baby on the way and threw the whole thing away over inappropriate behavior over the Internet. I thought about up-and-coming Missouri elected official Jeff Smith who gave up his career for breaking major electioneering laws.
McLaughlin's legal issues with the law are just starting to bubble up.
None of us should ever cast stones. None of us is infallible. We all make mistakes. The mistakes made by an enormously talented guy like Dan McLaughlin might just cost him and his family his entire professional broadcasting career.
And that would be tragic.