Tom Lewand's DUI: Why Do I Not Know How To Feel About This?

Dean Holden@@Dean_HoldenAnalyst IJune 28, 2010

DETROIT - 2009:  Tom Lewand of the Detroit Lions poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by NFL Photos)
NFL Photos/Getty Images

It's strange. Normally I'd have something to say here.

And, well, I do. Lots of things, actually. But they all contradict one another, and taken together, they make no sense.

Still, here we go anyway.

I have, in this very space, started writing (and subsequently stopped, deleted, and re-started) at least four or five articles about Tom Lewand's DUI arrestβ€”the Detroit Lions' President was charged with Friday after failing two field sobriety tests and registering a .21 BAC.Β 

But I don't know what to go with.

Do we, as the fans, denounce him? Support him? Look for ways for him to earn redemption? I don't know what to say myself, and I'm certainly not going to tell you how to feel.

On the one hand, drunk driving is a terrible thing. It's a very good thing nobody got hurt, but there are many of us who have lost friends and family members because of people doing what Lewand did the other night.

Just because he makes business decisions for the sports team that we like doesn't mean he gets off the hook. What he did was irresponsible and dangerous.

Then again, everybody makes mistakes, right?

He knows what he did was wrong The important thing is nobody was hurt, and Lewand seems genuinely humble and apologetic about his actions. Let him pay/serve whatever his court-imposed fine/sentence is, and hope he learns from this.

But is that really okay? What if this were a player? Would we so easily overlook something like this if it were, say, Matt Stafford? Louis Delmas? Or a non-Lion like Randy Moss, Peyton Manning, or Chad Ochocinco?

Because of our perceptions of each of those players, I'm guessing the reaction to each of them is a little different (and I'm not touching the reasons behind those perceptions, think about that on your own time). But the question remains: Why is this not the same as a player getting in similar trouble?

Sure, there's more of a stigma on younger, brash football players exhibiting irresponsible behavior, so the tendency is to look more harshly upon that. There is a precedent for it.

But Lewand is the president of the Detroit Lions. Isn't he supposed to set the example for the entire organization? Much as I hate to say it, as bad as he was, even Millen never got arrested.

And here's the saddest part. Maybe the reason I don't know how to feel, or which way to go with this, is because I don't care that much.

We don't really know Lewand, do we? Most Lions fans could walk right by Tom Lewand in front of Ford Field and not ever know who he was.

This is one of those moments that really forces us to think about what's important to us in sports. Sure, on some level we're all disappointed that Lewand got his name in the paper this way.

But why, exactly? Aren't we just angry about the blemish it leaves on the Detroit Lions as an organization? When you saw the headline, wasn't your reaction something like, "Great, that's just what we need?"

If you're like me, you wince when you think of non-Lions fans reading this story. You can hear it now: "Well, if I were the president of the Lions, I'd be drunk all the time, too!"

Sad, but given the last decade, how can we blame them? It's not like there isn't precedent .

By the same token, if the Lions win 10 games this year, will any of us care about this anymore? Of course not.

We will all have forgotten it happened. Lewand will be at the head of the Detroit Lions when they finally turn it around. He won't be a DUI offender who blew twice the legal limit one night in Roscommon County, he'll be a hero. A legend.

Hell, if I know whether that's good or bad. How much are we supposed to care about our sports? Do we need everybody in the organization to be a model citizen, or do we just want the team to win on Sundays?

Sadly, that's the kind of "redemption" most of us would like to see Lewand earn for this incident. It's all okay if we just get more wins.

Of course, I won't sit here and tell you I'm any different. Of course I want to see the Lions win more games, but it's patently absurd to suggest that Lewand's success in his job somehow redeems him for his irresponsibility in something that has nothing to do with football.

But by mid-season, I guarantee we will have all forgotten about it regardless. And maybe that's for the best. After all, what business is it of ours? Lewand didn't do anything to us, personally. He did something stupid, and even though the possibility was there, he didn't hurt anybody.

So just like Tiger Woods' business is with his wife (and nobody else), Lewand's is with the authorities of the state of Michigan.

He doesn't owe us, the fans of the business he runs, a thing. He will repay his debt to society, and we will move on with life, right?

Or wrong?


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