Accountability a must after Pinkel DWI
November, 17, 2011
By David Ubben | ESPN.com
Gary Pinkel has one of the most sterling reputations of any coach in the Big 12.
After being arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated on Wednesday night, that's taken a hit.
"I am very disappointed in myself for my lack of judgment in this instance," Pinkel said in a statement. "Nobody should drink and drive, including me. My staff and I constantly reinforce with each of our players the importance of not putting yourself into a position such as this. I did not follow that here and for that, I sincerely apologize to the University of Missouri, to our administration, to the Board of Curators and to our fans."
For Pinkel, though, there's little left to do besides take responsibility and move on.
The Tigers had two players, linebacker Will Ebner and tight end Beau Brinkley, arrested on DWI charges last summer. Mizzou even had a coach, offensive line coach Bruce Walker, arrested on DWI charges, though the exact circumstances were odd in that he was reportedly waiting for a taxi in the parking lot of the Mizzou facilities but his car was running while he sat in the driver's seat.
Either way, Pinkel must hold himself accountable as he would a player.
"I have already met with our staff and communicated with our players and have apologized to them," Pinkel said. "I accept full responsibility for my actions and will abide by whatever course of action our leadership deems appropriate."
Should Pinkel coach on Saturday at home against Texas Tech?
In similar circumstances, would a player play?
Nothing causes a coach to lose respect in his locker room faster than inconsistent rules.
Brinkley and Ebner were both suspended for the first two games of the 2010 season. Walker was not suspended after his arrest.
This mistake was extremely out of character for Pinkel, but one mistake can put you in the exact position in which Pinkel finds himself. Pinkel would be well-served to spread that message and turn a very high-profile mistake into a teachable moment for more than just himself.
As with any drunken-driving arrest, this could have been much more serious and the Thursday morning headline much more tragic. It wasn't. For that, all are fortunate.
That doesn't change the seriousness of the mistake or the consequences that should follow.
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