Looking back on this season of “Dancing With the Stars,” there were many questionable characters — yet of all of the contestants of the 2010-11 season, the least predictable “player” to get a “penalty” from the police was Pittsburgh Steeler and former Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Hines Ward.
He certainly scored a touchdown with his fans by winning the DWTS Mirror Ball trophy, but found himself with a personal foul against Georgia police July 9 when he was arrested for driving under the influence.
Police officers say the Georgia native was pulled over at 2:30 a.m. after he had swerved down the street and hit a curb with his super-fly Aston Martin luxury car.
Ward failed the field sobriety tests he was given. The officer administered a variety of intoxication tests, including a hand-held breath test, which came out positive for alcohol consumption. After having a difficult time with the basic tests, Ward later refused to give a breath sample on a Breathalyzer machine at the DeKalb County jail in Atlanta, Ga.
When asked if he consumed any alcohol, Ward responded that he had two bottles of Corona beer three hours prior to the arrest — but he may have wanted to re-think his story considering his actions. Ward reportedly became agitated during the tests, and swayed back and forth while with officers and even mixed up the letters in the alphabet.
Seems to me like a little more than three Coronas.
Even with these very clear allegations, Ward’s lawyer stated July 9 that his client was not under the influence while driving and that his cooperation with the police was uncanny — it’s funny how different the lawyer’s side of the story sounds from the police’s.
Even though Ward was arrested for his apparent intoxication, he was quickly released on bond. With that said, he isn’t out of the clear — he is set to appear in court Oct. 6 and could face up to a year in prison as well as a $1,000 fine.
So far this story has been the topic of sports media headlines, yet the overall consensus of fans and the media has been that receiving a DUI isn’t that bad. Ward has had a squeaky clean reputation in the NFL and fans LOVE him — but does that fan dedication trump the fact that he just broke the law, and put himself and others in danger?
The answer is really up in the air. My guess is he will likely get off easy because no one was hurt — oh, and also maybe because he is a football heavyweight.
The larger issue at hand, the NFL lockout, is pretty much taking the spotlight as of now. Good ole’ Roger Goodell is probably a little preoccupied with wondering if there will even be a football season — and most likely Ward’s little tiff with the law will be thrown on the back-burner for now.
Whether or not Ward gets a slap on the wrist and gets off easy, or gets thrown the book and is forced to own up to his mistake, is questionable. The fact of the matter is, this isn’t the first time a professional athlete or celebrity has pushed the justice system to its limits — just to name a few, Charles Barkley, Hassan Adams, Carmelo Anthony and of course who could forget Donte Stallworth who actually killed someone while driving under the influence.
All of these athletes deserved a far larger punishment than the one they received, yet for some reason they are the exception. Why that is, I really don’t know. What I do know, and what I do hope is that the police don’t shy away from this issue with Ward just because he is rich and famous, but rather that they use this situation as a public example of what not to do.