Monday, June 4, 2012
Blackmon's arrest a troubling sign
By David Ubben
Justin Blackmon was given a one-game suspension and season-long media ban for his first DUI in 2010. It was hardly a DUI in the sense most think when they see those three letters.
He said he wasn't drinking, but there was alcohol in the vehicle he was driving. Since he was not yet 21, he was charged with driving under the influence and speeding.
That could be chalked up to little more than college mischief, stealing away with friends for a weeknight trip to Dallas at a "Monday Night Football" game involving his former teammate and current Dallas Cowboy, Dez Bryant.
But after this weekend's incident?
There's no excusing this one.
The former Oklahoma State star smelled of alcohol when an officer pulled him over shortly after 3 a.m., Stillwater police spokesman Capt. Randy Dickerson said.
Blackmon agreed to take a breathalyzer test and blew a .24 -- three times the legal limit of .08, Dickerson said.
Under Oklahoma law, a driver can be charged with aggravated driving under the influence when a test shows .15 or greater. ...
... A Stillwater police officer tried to pull Blackmon over for speeding -- 60 mph in a 35 mph zone -- and driving left of center early Sunday morning, Dickerson said.
Blackmon drove about four blocks before stopping in a gas station parking lot, Dickerson said.
"He was unsteady on his feet, his speech was slurred, and his eyes were glassy and blood shot," Dickerson said in a statement. "He admitted to consuming alcohol prior to driving."
There wasn't anyone else inside the Chevrolet Tahoe, Dickerson said.
What else is left to say? The arrest is inexplicable, irresponsible and reckless.
How does an athlete with Blackmon's profile:
a) end up in a car by himself after a night out of what was clearly heavy drinking
b) end up driving after a night of heavy drinking and not calling a cab, or
c) not have a friend or acquaintance drive for him?
Blackmon's a legend in Stillwater, the best player on the best team in school history. Just about anyone in the bar where Blackmon's night ended probably would have given him a ride home.
The better scenario is calling a cab, but Blackmon's words from 2010 ring pretty hollow these days.
"I look forward to redeeming myself and proving to everybody that this isn't who I am," he said. "I'm humbled by this experience and I will grow from it."
After this weekend, it's hard to believe Blackmon truly grew from that first DUI. Talk is cheap. None will be cheaper than whatever Blackmon has to say for himself after this latest incident. The only way he's going to earn back trust is by a having decade or so (and then, ideally, the rest of his life) without any alcohol-related incidents or reckless driving incidents.
The conseqences await Blackmon now. He hasn't signed his contract yet, and new Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said Blackmon was "lost" at times during recent organized team activities.
Sunday morning's incident doesn't exactly inspire confidence that Blackmon will turn it around.
That ongoing contract negotiation? Blackmon just handed a whole lot of leverage to his new bosses. There could be some very intriguing incentives in his new deal to keep incidents like this from happening again.
Drinking and driving at three times the legal limit is reckless, and everyone involved should be thankful that this is how Blackmon's night ended, and not with an injury to himself or others.
Everybody deserves a second chance. Blackmon got his.
Not everyone will be as forgiving this time around, or as generous with a third.