Vic Beasley, Jr.'s father passed away a few days before the Rally Foundation event I covered back in April. Beasley was slated to host the event, and it never crossed his mind to cancel. He couldn't let those kids down, and his willingness to set aside his own grief to be there for those children, who are fighting cancer, is a testament to the man Beasley's father raised him to be.
I knew about Vic's father's passing before the event, but opted to not ask him about it, not wanting to distract him from the purpose of the evening. I wanted to tell readers that Vic had suffered a personal tragedy just before this event and had chosen to show up anyway, because I think it speaks volumes about his character and who he is as a person.
I also wanted to respect Beasley's privacy during such a difficult time, and because he wasn't quite ready, I opted to keep it to myself. Now that Beasley has opened up to ESPN's Vaughn McClure about losing his father to complications of alcoholism, I feel like I can share the story.
McClure's piece on Beasley coping with the loss of his father, and the months leading up to it, is a must-read. Beasley's father succumbed to cirrhosis of the liver and was in and out of the hospital throughout Beasley's rookie season. McClure said there were days Beasley would leave practice and go sit with his father at the hospital for hours.
All the while, in the locker room and on the field, Beasley kept a brave face. He was always courteous and pleasant with the media and his teammates. The transition to the NFL and the expectations associated with being such a high draft pick, playing through a torn labrum and -- on top of all of that -- facing the eventuality of losing his father -- that's a lot for a young player to go through.
It's a heartbreaking story, but Beasley's perspective is right where it needs to be.
"When you lose a loved one, you don't forget," Beasley told McClure. "You're just thankful for having them with you for the time that you had them with you."