Beyond the questionable timing involved with the Saturday publication of a lascivious series of photographs portraying Josh Hamilton in a less than favorable light, there is one more outstanding issue that, in my mind, still merits attention -- the Johnny Narron angle.
Less than 24 hours before the story erupted onto the national media scene and the Rangers hastily organized an early-afternoon press conference, Narron, the Texas Rangers' second-year special assignment coach and aptly described "baseball mentor, personal confidant and chaperone" to Hamilton, dismissed the photographs' validity while telling Deadspin.com that he "[didn't] put a lot of credence in someone saying they have photographs of Josh in a bar" and indicating that Hamilton had not, to his knowledge, suffered any sort of lapse in his sobriety:
"I'm sure, in the depths of his drug addiction, he was in a lot of bars," Narron goes on, suggesting that the photos predate Hamilton's recovery or perhaps were doctored. "He was in and out of bars, crackhouses, everything. There are probably photographs of him in all kinds of places."
Standing before a small regiment of reporters on Saturday afternoon, Hamilton stated that immediately after his January night of debauchery, he informed his "support system" of what transpired and purportedly asked for Narron's forgiveness, which is all well and good, but raises a vital question -- why did the man who plays such an integral role in Hamilton's support system evidently not know about the night in question if he was actually told about it back in January?
The logical rebuttal to this apparent inconsistency in the Hamilton narrative is that Narron might have told a bold-faced lie in order to protect his long-time friend, and I would be remiss in not acknowledging that possibility ... but, at the same time, Narron's remarks project such a strong air of conviction that one finds it moderately difficult to believe that they were entirely fabricated, and if Narron was truly unaware of the January incident, then that opens up the proverbial can of worms. It is, in essence, the one puzzle piece that doesn't quite seem to fit into the organization's account of the incident and constitutes reason for pause.
Whether that perceived sincerity in Narron's spirited defense of Hamilton equates to complete truthfulness isn't a question that we're likely to get a concrete answer to, but between Narron's apparent ignorance of Hamilton's January relapse, the contradictory nature of the duo's statements and the overall neatness of the P.R. package, one has to wonder -- even if only for a fleeting moment -- whether there's more to that lone non-conforming puzzle piece than what meets the eye.