How many people have to die before it’s finally understood that drunk driving is one of the most dangerous things a person can take part in?
It doesn’t get much worse than what Jets receiver Braylon Edwards was arrested for on Tuesday. Getting behind a car under the influence is almost equal to holding a loaded gun or piloting an airplane while under the influence.
That is one reason alone while Edwards should not be playing for Sunday. Another reason is that he endangered the lives of two of his teammates in the process. Finally, and this is really the kicker. Edwards was partying with former teammate Donte Stallworth on the night he mowed down Mario Reyes. Edwards wasn’t in the car with Stallworth, but Stallworth left Edwards after attending a party at his hotel.
How does the Stallworth situation that relate to this? You would think that after witnessing what Stallworth went through Edwards would make it his business to avoid making that mistake. Nope. Not Edwards. He blew a .16 on the breathalyzer, which is twice the legal limit.
Making matters worse, the NFL has a Player Protect program in place, which gives players access to 24-hour escort service. Any NFL player, anywhere in the country can get a ride somewhere if he needs one. Edwards could have done that. Edwards, who is making $6 million this season, could’ve also called a car service to escort him to Jerricho Cotchery’s charity event.
But with Edwards’ past, you can only wonder what else he’s done that we don’t know about. It may sound like I’m picking on him, but Edwards pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault of one of LeBron James’ friends last year. Edwards was also ticketed and fined for driving 120 mph in a 65 zone.
It makes you wonder if he cared about what he did.
Technically, the Jets can’t suspend Edwards. They can dress him and not play him on Sunday, but they would still have to pay him. As of right now, Edwards will dress, but he won’t start. Someone needs to take a stand now. The Jets should suspend Edwards. Sure they’ll get some heat from the player’s association, but it’s a chance that the Jets should be willing to take.
Too many people have died at the hands of drunk drivers. Stallworth and Leonard Little, who killed Susan Gutweiler in 1998 while driving under the influence, shouldn’t have even been allowed to continue their careers. But as usual, we put the all mighty dollar ahead of saving lives.
When I say we, I mean all of society. Drunk driving laws have been woefully week for decades. It wasn’t until recently that local governments have gotten tougher on druk drivers. Everyone likes to put this on the shoulders of our politicians.
While we all can agree that many of our elected officials have come up short in dealing with DWI, we really need to look in the mirror. How much do you want to bet that the next time Braylon Edwards catches a 50-yard bomb from Mark Sanchez that he’ll be cheered by Jets fans?
I can guarantee that Michael Vick will get a big ovation at the Philadelphia Eagles next home game. Vick is a convicted dog killer who did nearly two years in Federal prison. The outpour of criticism was severe. But a few years later and a couple of wins later and Vick is back in good graces with Eagles fans.
We can blame the politicians for not getting touch on drunk drivers and we can blame the teams for enabling this behavior by not punishing the offensders.
But society can also blame itself for not being a better watchdog.