The John Lackey divorce thing

I'm back from court, and wanted to say something about TMZ reporting that John Lackey has filed for divorce from his wife, who is battling cancer.

I wouldn't normally comment on this, but I saw a lot of stuff on Twitter ripping Lackey, talking about what a bad guy he is, etc.  

I don't know what Lackey's situation is.  Neither do you, most likely.  All we know is what TMZ has reported, which is that he filed on 8/30, and even that hasn't been confirmed, from what I can tell.

That hasn't kept people from jumping to conclusions.  Jeff Passan, in particular, has been on his high horse and whipping Lackey on Twitter.  After ragging on him for a while, he then sent out this tweet:

 

Jeff Passan
Can any divorce lawyers answer this: If it's a mutually agreed-upon divorce, couples usually file together, right?

 

The answer, as I (as a Texas divorce lawyer) told him on Twitter (and as Craig Calcaterra, among others, pointed out) is "no."  Generally speaking, in Texas, someone files.  Even if it it mutually agreed upon, even if both people want the divorce, even if there's no dispute on what they are going to do, cases are, in almost every case, filed by one party.  

This hasn't stopped Passan from passing judgment, though:

 

Jeff Passan
@
My opinion is based on the fact he filed for divorce while his wife is fighting cancer. I don't need tmz to tell me its wrong.

 

The fact that he filed doesn't mean he "left" her, as some have suggested.  It doesn't mean he hasn't, either.  It doesn't mean he wants the divorce and she doesn't.  It doesn't mean she wants the divorce and he's filed because he's given up on making the marriage work.  

Maybe Lackey is the bad guy here.  Maybe he's acting horribly, and he deserves condemnation.  If so, we'll know soon enough.  But at this point, to say, as Passan does, that he knows it is wrong based on what scant information is out there is ignorant. 

The fact that TMZ says it was filed using just initials, rather than names, and that it was filed almost a month ago but info is just now leaking, suggests to me, at first blush, that this may be something both parties are trying to do privately, with a minimal amount of both rancor and publicity.  I could be wrong, of course.  But my experience has been that, to date, they are conducting this like people who are trying to avoid exactly the sort of spectacle TMZ is trying to turn this in to.  Divorces often get filed, after all, because both parties have reached a point where they realize that it is inevitable.  There isn't always a "good guy" and a "bad guy," one party who is abandoning the other.  Oftentimes, once someone files, both parties have decided that's the best course of action.

Again, that may not be the case here.  I don't know.  You don't know.  Jeff Passan doesn't know.  And that's why everyone should keep their damn mouths shut about this unless and until more information comes out.  Because the bottom line is, we don't know what is going on with these folks.  We don't know why a divorce was filed.  We don't know that he "left" his wife, and we sure as hell don't have enough information to blanketly condemn Lackey for doing something that is "wrong."

But given that neither party has, to this point, felt it appropriate to alert the media, I think at the very least, the family is entitled to their privacy and should be spared value judgments.

UPDATE -- The Red Sox have released a statement:

 

"John Lackey is dealing with a deeply personal family issue, and it is one the Red Sox do not feel is appropriate for public debate. The Red Sox request that John and Krista’s privacy be respected.

The Red Sox will not have any further comment."

 

UPDATE -- Reading back through this, I realize that, as often happens, I got a little wound up.  I want to be clear...I think Jeff Passan is a hell of a writer who does really good work.  I have a lot of respect for him, and am quoting him and his tweets because those were the ones this morning that jumped out at me, not because I'm wanting to bash him.  

UPDATE -- I don't follow Jon Heyman, so only a couple of minutes ago saw this tweet from earlier today:

 

Jon Heyman

john lackey, divorcing cancer-stricken wife (via TMZ), complains about timing of text from media. poor baby.
So you can substitute "Heyman" for "Passan" above, if you want.
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