When a college kid gets picked up for driving under the influence (DUI) one time, you can pretty easily write it off as college stupidity. The kind that many people can relate to. The offender is given some pretty severe warnings and realizes they could be looking at jail time if it happens again.
When it happens twice, it shows extremely poor judgment and then some penalties with “teeth” begin to emerge. Nebraska walk-on tight end Hunter Teafatiller’s second DUI happened within three months of the first, but since he was not prosecuted in the first case, his second offense was limited to 9-months probation, a fine, and an impounded license. At that point, you would think most kids would get the message.
But when it happens a third time within a year of the first two offenses, you begin to think it’s no longer about judgment, it may well signal addiction. It’s not like Teafatiller tried to have just a couple of beers hoping he’d blow a decent number if pulled over. He had a blood alcohol level of 0.2 (the threshold for conviction is 0.08). That’s either a major disregard for the law or major denial about how much he was drinking.
Since you’d expect Teafatiller to have known what was at stake with another DUI, you have to wonder whether he has the willpower to keep from drinking and driving. In a fairly sprawling town like Lincoln, driving can seem pretty necessary. But drinking? That’s optional. And it’s a choice he can’t seem to make. You’d hope this is his bottoming out, that things don’t need to get worse before he gets serious about changing his behavior. But sadly, with addiction it can get a lot worse, both for him and anyone unlucky enough to be sharing the road at the wrong time.
From a football perspective, his availability to the team doesn’t seem that important. He’s only caught nine passes in his career. But the support the team can offer him could well be critical for the young man. Hopefully, he gets his act together and accepts it.