Nose tackle Alameda Ta’amu, the fourth-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2012 NFL draft, has been reinstated by the team after serving a two-game suspension for an alleged drunken driving rampage in the early morning hours of October 14th.
The criminal docket listing the complaints against Ta’amu is staggering. Some highlights:
- Fleeing or attempting to elude police officer
- Aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI
- Three counts of aggravated assault
- Accident involving damage to attended vehicle
- Resisting arrest
- Two counts of driving under the influence
- Driving the wrong way on a one-way street
- Driving on the wrong side of the roadway
According to WPXI, Ta’amu turned onto East Carson Street in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood after driving the wrong way down Fort Pitt Boulevard, traveling seven blocks on the wrong side of the road before nearly running over a police officer.
Ta’amu’s frenzy came to an end when, after rendering his own vehicle incapacitated after crashing into his fifth car, he tore off his shirt and tried to evade police on foot.
Shortly thereafter, he was detained and blew a .196 on the breathalyzer, more than double the legal limit in Pennsylvania.
Oh, and this isn’t the first time he’s been busted for DUI.
And yet for reasons that are not in any way apparent, he remains on the Steelers’ roster.
When a player is drafted, he is selected because he has displayed potential to be a productive NFL player. That potential must be weighed against the expense, (in terms of both time and money) the drafting franchise must incur to make this a mutually beneficial transaction.
It is difficult to see how Ta’amu’s maintenance costs will be recouped by the Steelers, and it is even harder to understand how essentially pardoning Ta’amu for his blowup will benefit the man in the future.
He’s a fourth-round pick who has a history of criminal behavior who has yet to be active for a game much less an impact player. There is not much here.
The Steeler franchise, meanwhile, comes across as being indifferent that one of its own nearly murdered a police officer with his vehicle. I wonder if it’s the DUI or resisting arrest that fits in with “The Standard” Mike Tomlin espouses or “The Steeler Way” fans delude themselves into believing exists.
Although by now we should be well past the overwrought mantra that the Steelers adhere to a fundamentally honorable standard superior to the other 31 teams in the league.
To believe that would be to disregard extensive evidence that the Steel Curtain championship teams of the late 1970’s routinely abused performance-enhancing drugs, or overlook the double-standard the franchise set when the Rooneys sent Santonio Holmes packing for his off-field blunder while franchise man Ben Roethlisberger has had two opportunities to repent for his misadventures.
Make no mistake, the “Steeler Way” is a myth and has been for quite some time. The Rooney family is not running a YMCA. The primary directive of NFL franchises is to make money, and the best way to make money is to win.
If this was about “doing the right thing” and making an example of men who fail to live a decorous and moral life, Big Ben would be quarterbacking other franchise.
Ta’amu does not belong on the Steelers because there is no place for him on the field. But beyond that, he is a menace to the city, and another in an ever-growing line of professional athletes, who find themselves in troublesome legal situations that result in little to no actual punishment.
There aren’t many employers that let employees off the hook after something like this.
If there is truly a standard for this Steelers team, I hope it’s better than this.