Saturday, July 09, 2011

What does Ward's DUI mean?

News that Hines Ward was picked up for DUI in Georgia Saturday morning shocked some Steelers fans.

In fact, Pro Football Talk actually went as far as to say that Ward's reputation would take a hit.

The question is, why?

While I don't condone driving under the influence, there's likely not one person who is reading this post who has not driven after having one too many.

Again, I'm not condoning Ward's alleged actions. He's 35 years old and should know better. And he's rich enough that he could have hired a driver or called a taxi - no matter how far he had to go.

Ward made an error in judgment. And judging from the number of DUI arrests that appear in the Observer-Reporter on a weekly basis, he's not alone in that error.

And for those of you wondering if the Steelers or NFL will have some kind of penalty for Ward, remember that this is his first offense. They won't be happy about it, but he won't be facing a suspension or anything like that.

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Get this bum off our team!

Anonymous said...

That sucks, he is part of the face of the Steelers!! But you are so right, we all make stupid mistakes. With all the money these players make, come on.... I would have a driver every day of the week, until I am in need 4 speed in one of ferrari's in the garage!!

Anonymous said...

It means he's lucky he didn't kill someone.

adamg said...

Apparently there is a summer crackdown on all types of driving violations going on in GA, too, with extra patrols, etc, watching for any kind of erratic driving.

Reportedly Ward's male passenger hadn't been drinking and was allowed to drive the car back to Ward's home. It struck me as kind of odd that the cop didn't just give a warning and direct the sober passenger to drive to wherever they were going, but I guess if the state is having a crackdown, they couldn't.

Anyway, it's not the end of the world and, as you said, Dale, we've probably all done something similar.

Tim said...

I'll start by saying I don't actually know if Hines did it or not, so the following post is assuming he did.

I'm surprised how lightly some of you are taking this. Tell me, what's the difference between Hines Ward and Donte Stallworth? Two Super Bowl rings, and luck. If you do a careless act that results in death, and the next day repeat the same careless act and it doesn't result in death, did you do any better? NO! It's the same thing! If two guys each drop a horseshoe off the top of the Empire State Building and only one of them kills a baby, does the other one get off with a slap on the wrist like Hines?

I don't understand, "I'm not condoning it, but come on -- we've all been there." I don't understand calling it an "error in judgement" like it's on the same level as cheating on a biology quiz. Dale, not all of your readers have carelessly endangered lives of complete strangers. I haven't, and if that makes me the weird one, if that makes me a square, and if everyone else out there has no problem dropping horseshoes off skyscrapers like they're biology quizes, then all of you are pathetic. I'm not wrong in this. You really can't imagine why Ward's reputation would take a hit after this? You really think risking himself and others is a "you should know better" offense? Maybe it's that kind of thinking that has so many of your readers, along with much of the rest of the country, thinking it's okay to drive "after having one too many." Because hey, if we've all been there, then we all do it once in awhile, right? And there's no reason to think its frequency will ever diminish. Not with present day adults, and not with today's youth. Maybe it's your kind of colorful terminology that makes it acceptable and accepted to see a world class athlete impaired to the point of not being able to aim his car BETWEEN the curbs. It's not a chance of danger, it's danger. And it's completely avoidable for everyone, not just the rich. Hell, you have to do a certain amount of work just to get INTO a situation like that... If only there was some small role YOU could play to try and change this brainless, heartless sick variation of common sense. Be the change you wish to see in the world, Dale. Treat it like the big deal it is.

For the record, I have not lost anyone close to me, or anyone at all, to drunk driving. But I do have a degree of empathy for those that have, and I'm able to translate that empathy into actions.

adamg said...

Hyperventilate much?

I think Dale's point is we are all human, we all make mistakes and many of us have done the same thing even though we may have gotten away with it. It's a lesson, own up to it and move on.

Anonymous said...

While I don't condone driving under the influence, there's likely not one person who is reading this post who has not driven after having one too many.

eh...hem...one!!! But then again I don't drink.

I have a friend who I went to school with who lost her 15 year old son, her mother-in-law and father-in-law a few years back because of a drunk driver. His sober passenger should have been driving from the start.

I don't want to judge Hines but that was a terrible error in judgement.

adamg said...

I don't know, do you think a sober passenger would get into a car with an obviously incapacitated driver?

In any event, all the facts will come out in court.

adamg said...

Let me just add one more thing. I never owned a sports car on the order of those Ward owns, but I did drive one during my younger days. Those cars have extremely responsive steering and it doesn't take much of a reaction jerk on the wheel, if you drift, to careen from one side of a lane to the other before you can regain control.

Joe said...

Before we get too excited, let's let the details come out. In my opinion, there is a big difference between blowing a 0.1 and a 0.3. One is a mistake/lapse in judgment. The other is egregious.

Tim said...

I'm all for letting the facts come out on the Ward case before I judge him. You don't have to look too far in the past to find an example of the cops arresting him for absolutely no reason.

But people taking the issue with a "Ah well, mistakes happen. Pay your fine and move on" attitude is what keeps people thinking it's okay to drive if they've only had one or two. After all, these "errors in judgement" we're talking about are coming from drunk people! We're stone cold sober and DEFENDING them by saying it's not that big a deal? What's the excuse for that? You can remember a time when you did it and sympathize with the drunk guy (or tipsy, or possibly impaired, or framed, or however you'd like to put it)?

This is from the California DMV website: "the number of people killed by drunk/intoxicated drivers in 2007 (2,200) was more than double the number of American soldiers who were killed in the wars in Afganistan and Iraq combined (1021) in 2007... In 2007, 33,532 people were injured in accidents caused by drunk drivers. Again consider this number in relation to the 6,108 soldiers injured in Iraq during 2007 - California Drunk Driving injures were 550% higher than the number of injuries to soldiers in Iraq. Now, each one of these people will be forced to undergo a painful, costly and time consuming recovery." And that's comparing only California's drunk drivers to the entire country's soldiers. I'm gonna sympathize with those people over my buddy who can't decide if he should drive or not, every time.

Anonymous said...

If we got rid of Santonio for smoking weed, don't we have to dump Hines for driving drunk?

adamg said...

Here's the thing, Tim. It's not illegal to drink and drive. If it was, the legal limit would be 0, not .08.

Tim said...

So it's up to people that have just had some beers to guess what their BAC is without any equipment to do so? That's one hell of a judgement call we're putting in the hands of someone who's been drinking. No wonder people consider it a minor error in judgement that shouldn't even impact your reputation, no matter who you could have killed because you didn't want to call a cab.

To me that turns "I could have killed someone" into "Oh I was .08 but I thought I was .07... big whoop, so I was off by one one-hundredth." It's making it a legal issue instead of a physiological and risk issue. It's saying instead of risking a family's life, I'm taking a guess on a math problem. After all, what's the real difference between .07 and .08? Not much, it's just the legal line. What matters is how much a person can function, and their functionality goes down with the first drink, as does their own ability to know how well they're functioning.

I'm not trying to come after you personally, but I see a problem with thinking and saying it's legal to drink and drive. While it's technically true -- of course I could have a sip of beer and drive, and probably keep a BAC of .001 or something and not be impaired -- that allows people to rationalize driving after a drink or two. Maybe Hines (or someone like him) could manage to stay under the legal limit. But if they are weaving in and out of lanes and crashing into curbs, they are not functioning properly and could kill or hurt another driver, or a pedestrian, or themselves. Thinking it's okay to drink and drive under any circumstances, even after only a beer, is a problem. I know what I'm saying isn't cool by any stretch, and I know that there are always going to be morons who get totally wasted, drive home, and kill something. But as you and Dale have been quick to point out, LOTS of people do this. Normal people, good people. Friends of mine. People like Hines. Those are the circumstances that are inexcusable. People who should know better, but really don't. I think if more people felt like I do and less like you do, there would be far fewer deaths.

I think I'm done now. Thanks for the debate.

James F. said...

Well said Tim, I agree 100%. Nobody was hurt during this ordeal and we should all be thankful of that!

Dale Lolley said...

Santonio Holmes did a heck of a lot more than smoke some weed once.

adamg said...

Tim, no offense, but it's not just having a drink or two and driving. Things as simple as talking to your passengers, fiddling with the radio/cd/mp3, adjusting the mirrors, being tired or sick, glancing at a GPS or map, gawking at the accident on the other side of the highway or just looking over your shoulder to see what your 2 yr old in the backseat is crying about can also cause a driver to lose control and lead to a fatal accident. I'm willing to bet you don't all worked up over those things.

ultraview said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tim said...

Oh, but I do. In fact, I heard James Harrison used a GPS early this morning, so I've gotta go prepare a blog post about that. It's basically the same thing as driving drunk. I hadn't taken that into consideration. I recant my previous statements. If you'll excuse me...

adamg said...

Ch 11 has a blockbuster update.

Anonymous said...

I love how easy it is for everyone to be so holier than thou on a blog...meanwhile your kids are drinking and driving every weekend.

Anonymous said...

Dale, casting aside any judgments of Ward, if the NFL were so inclined, is it able to take action against Ward or any other player who was arrested while locked out? It would seem to me that the NFL's Personal Conduct policy cannot apply to players who are locked out, right?

Dale Lolley said...

The NFL has said that it will still take action against those players once the lockout is resolved. They are, after all, still under contract.
I'm no lawyer, obviously, so I don't know about the legality of such actions.
But all players do have personal conduct clauses in their contracts.

adamg said...

Greg Aiello has said the league will review the charges against Ward once the lockout is over. Max penalty for a first time DUI offense is half a game check, but not more than 50k.

marc said...

quite possibly the dumbest scenario i have ever heard.

ward's buddy, sober, sitting in the passenger seat while ward bounces off the curb and swerves between lanes.

anyone making excuses for ward is, by association, an idiot.

however, we've all probably taken at least one drive home when we shouldn't have and when we got home thought, "man, that was stupid."

thankfully, luckily, no one was hurt. for everyone's sake, i hope he learns his lesson.

Anonymous said...

Cop followed the car for 4 miles. Can you say looking for any pretext? There's video of the stop from the cop car, but they won't release it. Why not? It can only bolster their case and has to be turned over to the defense regardless.

marc said...

looking for pretext, or maybe giving him the benefit of the doubt until he had no choice but to pull him over. that arguement can go either way.

the police do not have to make their case to the media or public. they make their case in court, so i see no reason why they have to release the video right now.

actually, they might be doing ward a favor if he looks like a stumbling, bumbling idiot.

Anonymous said...

Translation: Hines kisses the media's ass so I'll give him a free pass.

The media should be calling Ward out for being a hypocrite. He bashed Ben at every turn for off the field stuff (Despite never being charged). Well now Ward's a jailbird after his second late night "incident" in 3 months.

He also was charged with reckless driving and speeding in the same area in 2006. What did he learn? He's obviously a risk to himself and others when he gets behind the wheel of a car either sober or drunk.

The Steelers should deactivate him for one game. They did it to Holmes, they supported Goodell suspending Ben as well.

What "message" would it send to the rest of the locker room if they allow CHARGED Hines Ward to skate from this scott free?

Tim said...

If I'm not mistaken, the team deactivated Holmes during the middle of the season, because that's when he was busted for pot or whatever. This is not only the offseason, but the NFL is barely even alive right now. Whether you and I see the two scenarios as different or not, the team might. And whether they do or not, they could easily use that as an excuse not to deactivate an important player.

Especially against Baltimore.

Anonymous said...

Agree. They deactivated Holmes because it was late in the week (think it was thurs or friday) and didn't want him to become a distraction for the game coming up in two days. This game is more that 1 and a half month from now

Dale Lolley said...

I'm not quite sure where Ward ever bashed Roethlisberger for any off-field incidents. Got some proof of that.
I'm not giving Ward a pass on this. He messed up. But, unfortunately, it's a pretty common mistake that people make. Hence the reason there are no fewer than 25 DUIs in my paper each week.
Doesn't make it right. But it's not something that you suspend a player who has kept his nose clean for years over.