DUI’s Double-Standard: Closing the Gap


Last fall, the subject of one of my “Pass the Word” columns was drunk driving, and how it had become a quiet plaque among us. Still, hardly a day goes by without reading how someone under the influence got behind the wheel of a car and, well, the news is rarely good.

At that time, Sacramento’s rookie coach, Eric Musselman, had just been pulled over by local cops when he made a right turn from a left lane and cut off another car. He failed three sobriety tests. His blood alcohol was .11 (the legal limit is .8) I argued that there seemed to be a double-standard in league sanctions levied against coaches relative to athletes. Did the guys in suits deserve better than the guys who sweat?

Thankfully, the doubled-standard has closed somewhat since then. In December, the NFL’s new commissioner, Roger Goodell, suspended Detroit Lions defensive line coach Joe Cullen for a game and fined him $20,000 for “conduct detrimental to the league.” Cullen had already been arrested twice during the preseason, for nude driving (I truly do not even want to think about this) in August and drunken driving in September. Lions head coach Rod Marinelli suspended Cullen for the season opener but Goodell decided further action was needed.

This week, Musselman was suspended two games without pay after pleading no contest to the charge against him in Sacramento County Surperior Court. A first-time offender, he was ordered to pay $580 in fines and penalities, (For punishment, a no-contest plea is viewed exactly like a guilty plea.)

Players and coaches in all sports often talk of being “in it together.” If that’s the case, there should be no difference in penalities for misdeeds simply because one man wears a suit.


6 thoughts on “DUI’s Double-Standard: Closing the Gap

  1. Juan says:

    That photo looks like something out of Reno 911! (the movie is coming out BTW.. I’m there Opening Night)

    Nice find on photo.

    He blew a .11… not terribly high, but high enough to be illegal to drive. Cutting off a driver and making a right hand turn from left lane? Wow.

    The NBA needs to have more consistency in punishing fighting. Garnett got one game for going after McDyess? And Kobe got the same for his incident? Yet, Carmelo gets a grip for his actions (did he not throw a haymaker)?

    Stu Jackson needs to clarify how these fines/suspensions are determined. And how are these punishments modified by (1)whether he lands the punch or (2)the mischief that ensues (people coming off bench? ) etc….

    I don’t know if Stu knows either…

  2. Juan Garcia-Abrego, a humble chicken farmer, A sus órdenes says:


    Like the new color scheme. I keep hopping over to see if you are going to write a piece on Nick Saban? I will hang up and listen (Go Colts)

  3. Thanks, Juan. I’m not sure there’s anything new to say about Nick Saban. He came, he went and he got a very expensive T-shirt. Now, he’s getting paid by some crazy people who think you can buy a national title, and/or tat national titles are their birthright. Please. Good luck, Nick. Be well. Stay away from the NFL.

  4. chris leak's 4.5 forty hookslide says:

    National titles can be purchased Roy. Ron Zook knows how to recruit, ask Urban Meyer if he appreciates Zooker

  5. Has there ever been a case where a coach was placed in the substance abuse program. I certainly don’t know of any.

  6. Juan says:

    Some other famous coaching DUI’s..

    Gary Moeller (Michigan HFC)
    Bob Huggins (Cincy HFC)]
    Jim Harbaugh (USD Football HFC)
    Eddie Sutton (OkStU HBC)
    Dennis Erickson (HFC)
    Frank Solich (Ohio HFC)
    Jon Gruden (Raiders HFC)-pled to reckless driving

    These are just some of the bigger names with DUIs under their belts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: