You’ve had a couple of drinks and you’re feeling courageous enough to talk to the good-looking girl across the bar. You have a couple more drinks and realize that time is flying by, forcing you to drunkenly shuffle your hands through your pockets to find your keys. As you tell your friends goodbye with a drunken slur, you stumble your way to the car and force your keys into the ignition, putting yourself and everyone on the road at risk in the wee hours of the night.
Drunk driving is an ongoing problem in our country and even more so in the state of Wisconsin. Not only has it affected every-day citizens, but also professional athletes, which is flat-out unacceptable in my eyes.
The latest athlete to succumb to the letter of the law was Milwaukee Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo, who was arrested Tuesday for drunk driving. According to ESPN Milwaukee senior editor Drew Olson, Gallardo had a blood alcohol content of 0.22, nearly three times the state’s legal limit of .08. While is an extremely disappointing situation, Gallardo was fortunate to not end up in a situation like that of Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent, who was arrested on suspicion of intoxication and manslaughter after he crashed and ultimately took the life of teammate Jerry Brown Jr.
No matter how much research I do or how much I try and wrap my head around it, I still don’t understand the notion of drunk driving, especially for professional athletes. Whether they are at the ballpark, the bar, any public place or on the highway, as in Gallardo’s case, their every move is constantly being watched and scrutinized, and they have absolutely no say in that.
Due to this, they have high priority on society’s pedestal, which forces these athletes to be extremely careful of their actions both on and off the field.
Alright, enough with the fluff. Fans of all ages look up to professional athletes. Fans skip work to see them in action. They skip school. They wear their jersey with the utmost pride. They arrive hours prior to game-time to see the players loosely swing a bat in batting practice in hopes of possibly getting a autograph something a fan would probably remember for the rest of his or her life.
Young kids pretend they are hitting a game-winning home run like Ryan Braun or throwing the game-winning pass like Aaron Rodgers. However, an athlete makes a mistake like this, it not only affects the athlete and their respective organization, it affects the community those who look up to them with a child-like admiration.
To make matters worse, there were people on Twitter who made fun of the arrest. In response to a @NewsHub tweet that read: “#Brewers P Yovani Gallardo arrested on drunken driving allegations. Blew a 0.22,” an individual whose name I will not include responded “Lower than his ERA at least.”
How does someone find any comic relief in a situation of such severe magnitude? He could have seriously hurt himself or someone else and that’s all you have to say? Seems pretty childish to me.
While I don’t want this to sound like I hate Gallardo, I want to make it known that I thoroughly commend him for being a man about the situation by apologizing to fans and the organization, and admitting he made a mistake. It doesn’t take away what he did but at least he had the respect and dignity to confront the situation head-on.
Whether our society wants to come to grips with it or not, drunk driving is a serious issue and it will continue to be pushed under the rug with tweets like that. Unless collectively—as both a general society and sports society—we make a stand to help alleviate the problem before it spirals out of control.
Do you think athletes need to be safer when they handle alcohol? Do they need to be more concerned with their public image? Let Rex know what you think by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.