Here We Go Again: DUI and Althletes

Phil KohenCorrespondent IApril 1, 2009

PEBBLE BEACH, CA - FEBRUARY 16:  Dustin Johnson poses with the trophy after being declared the winner of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at the Pebble Beach Golf Links on February 16, 2009 in Pebble Beach, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Dustin Johnson, come on down, you are the next contestant on The Price of DUI!

In today's sports news, there are way too many reports of athletes, DUIs, formal charges and jail time, etc. that take away the enjoyment I get when I read the sports pages of The Las Vegas Review Journal to start my day.

Allow me to quickly recap starting with the latest athlete.

1. The man pictured above, Dustin Johnson, was arrested Monday and charged with driving under the influence in South Carolina.

It was not the first time the 24-year-old, who won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am this past February, has been introduced to law enforcement officials.

He was booked into the J. Reuben Long Detention Center in South Carolina on Monday and released less than a half an hour later. 

You can click on this link to get more details of his previous encounters with the law.

2. Joba Chamberlin, 23, pitcher for the New York Yankees.

He entered a plea earlier today of guilt to a Nebraska charge of drunk driving and was given probation.

He was pulled over Oct. 18, 2008 by police on the outskirts of Lincoln. Authorities say his blood-alcohol level was 0.134 percent. The legal limit in Nebraska is 0.08 percent. 


Tell me how many of us would have got probation for a DUI?!

The second best thing he heard in that courtroom was when the judge told him that it takes only 10 seconds to lose what you have. 

The judge hoped to never see Joba in her courtroom again.

3. Donte Stallworth, 28, wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, was charged Wednesday with killing a pedestrian last month while driving drunk after a night out at a South Beach nightspot.

A charge of DUI manslaughter was filed in the Mar. 14 accident that killed 59-year-old Mario Reyes. If convicted, Stallworth could face up to 15 years in prison.

Stallworth's blood-alcohol level after the crash was .126, well above Florida's legal limit of .08, according to results of a blood test.

Stallworth will also be charged with DUI, which carries a possible six-month sentence plus fines and community service for first offenders.

There is at least one common denominator with these three situations.

The ages of the athletes are all under 30 years!

Not that athletes over 30 don't do stupid things (see Charles Barkley), but the level of severity seems quite high in the above cases.

The thing that gets me is the statement made by an athlete and it goes something like this: "I want to apologize to my fans, team, family for my lack of intelligence for such a stupid act and I will never do this again...blah blah blah blah blah blah..."

Why can't they learn from the previous offender who made the "same mistake" and not be foolish enough to get into their car while impaired!

Johnson and Chamberlain were very lucky that nobody else was involved on the night of their stupidity.

Stallworth was not that lucky. Nor were Mr. Reyes and his family.

NOTE: You are taking away the last bit of escape that many of us have by living vicariously. But when the real world starts creeping into my sports fantasy world, I start getting upset.

I am afraid I may one day wake up and say—that's it!

I may have to take up putting airplane models together for my escape.

Oh wait a minute, I remember why I stopped that too! 

The glue...