Okay, it is news. The Arizona Cardinals wide receiver was found asleep at the wheel of his car in Scottsdale with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .217, more than twice the legal level. This qualifies him for the designation of “super extreme DUI,” which carries stiff penalties.
We said it’s not news because it happens so often. The DUI arrest of a sports figure is pretty ho-hum as news items go. Sometimes you forget if you’re watching a sports feed or the crime report.
What’s interesting are the reactions to Floyd’s DUI arrest, which was recorded and which shows Scottsdale officers dealing with the seriously impaired 27-year-old.
After the incident the Cardinals cut Floyd from the team. That was surprising to some. It’s safe to say it wouldn’t have happened a few years ago, when major sports leagues could sweep all but the worst kinds of misbehavior under the carpet.
Then the New England Patriots decided to take advantage of the situation and snap Floyd up.
This is worrisome. The Cardinals’ reaction to Floyd’s DUI arrest appeared encouraging: they were letting the public know that they didn’t approve of the behavior of an athlete who is supposed to represent the team and the NFL as a whole. Of course, cynics pointed out that Floyd wasn’t doing too well this year, and it was a good excuse to drop him.
At any rate, the Cardinals’ thanks for the gesture is that the player they’ve disciplined is now on the Super Bowl track.
There are a couple of ways to look at how things have turned out.
One is that what happens in the rarefied world of sports doesn’t apply to the rest of us. Even though Floyd was drinking on the team plane and didn’t get a ride home despite the fact that his $7 million salary would have covered it, he was a kid, and every kid deserves a second chance.
Another way to see it is that just as celebrities are treated differently in restaurants, so will they be treated differently in courts, and there’s nothing we can do about it.
It’s not over. Floyd does face punishment, including a mandatory jail sentence. But that won’t come until February. And the NFL won’t be imposing any discipline of its own until then, for reasons that remain murky.
What is clear is that NFL and the country in general has not yet decided how seriously it wants to take drinking and driving when it’s being done by major athletes.