Okay, I'm really swamped at work and I have NO business blogging, but I just can't take it anymore.
Lance "I'll never play another down as a Chicago Bear" Briggs wrapped his $450,000 car around a light pole on the Edens Expressway outside of Chicago early Monday morning. Let me get the obvious observations out of the way first--I'm glad the man's fine. I'm glad he didn't hurt anyone else in the incident. And I have no first hand knowledge of the events of that morning, so what I'm about to say is merely speculation based on various media reports and, well, common sense.
I work an early shift and commute about an hour to my job, so I'm actually up and about at the ungodly hour of 3 AM. So, as I was getting up to start my day on Monday morning, Lance was ending his. Badly. By the time I got to work at 5:30, the story had already hit the local media.
Of course, at that time, the headline was "Lamborghini Abandoned on the Edens". It was a "News of the Weird" piece that I only perused because of a long-standing fascination with sports cars that cost more than my house. My thoughts while I waited for my browser to load were something along the lines of "Damn, that's a hell of a way to try to get out of a DUI, leaving your Lamborghini on the effen Edens." It was a short news story, and almost as an afterthought, the last line was "Illinois State Police confirm that the car is registered to Lance Briggs, although it is unknown at this time if Briggs was driving the car at the time of the incident."
I spit my Iced Coffee out.
Do these guys EVER learn?!?
I am not stupid enough to think that athletes are angels. They're human, and in many cases, young and obscenely rich. That's a combination almost destined to cause problems for some. When I was in my twenties I did really stupid things (like most people), although I didn't have the advantage of being obscenely rich. So the fact that Lance was probably driving really fast and may have been impaired doesn't really shock me. It doesn't even shock me that he was driving a car that costs more than my house. What shocks me is that after the Summer of Discontent in the sports world, he apparently learned NOTHING.
Well...let me revise that. It appears that he learned that a DUI charge (or even the threat of a DUI charge...just ask Tank) would not be conducive to his career in the NFL. However, being involved in a one-car accident that wasn't reported immediately, well...that probably wouldn't even get him suspended.
Illinois has some pretty tough DUI laws. If an officer asks you to submit to a Breathalyzer test or perform a roadside sobriety check, you can refuse--but you'll be immediately arrested, and even if subsequent tests prove that you were NOT drunk, your license is suspended for six months.
Again...this is all mere speculation, but there are reports that place Lance in at least one club that served alcohol that evening. Okay--first off--if you can afford a $450,000 car, you can afford a cab to take you home if you've been drinking. Or a hotel room to sleep it off. Don't be an idiot and get behind the wheel.
It certainly appears to me that Lance had someone helping him deal with the aftermath of this incident. For those of you not from the Chicago area, the spot where the car was abandoned is in the middle of one of the busiest expressways leading in and out of the city. But it's self-contained at that point, meaning that the nearest off-ramp is probably a mile or so away. Someone had to have picked him up and removed him from the scene. When Lance did call the police, he basically told them "Yeah, I'll come in to see you after I get off work today." The police didn't bother to go fetch him (the Bears aren't exactly hard to find when they are practicing, with the media there broadcasting and everything). By the time Lance went to the police, they didn't even BOTHER to test him for drugs or alcohol, because it was pointless. It was 12 hours after they found the car. They charged him with Leaving the Scene of an Accident and some other traffic crap, which is completely pointless and for which he'll probably pay a fee which will take him roughly five minutes to earn. All of these outcomes which (to my cynical eye) came about directly with the assistance of some well-paid legal representation.
He almost got away with it! He almost made a clean get-away! Even his coach was saying "This was a one-car accident. And now suddenly alcohol is involved? I think that's a little bit of a stretch."
And then Lance opened his mouth.
His lawyer/publicist/agent--whoever--should surgically sew his mouth shut. Immediately.
Lance spent the off-season badmouthing the Bears front office, whining about how he'll never reach his full potential being on a team with Brian Urlacher, about how his $7M salary was unfair. Wah, wah, wah. He refused to talk to the media once he caved and showed up at camp. He's generally been acting like a spoiled brat. Now, suddenly--at exactly the point where silence would **** wonders--he's a regular Chatty Cathy.
Or, perhaps more appropriately, a Loose Lips Lance.
Lance, I'm not a lawyer, but I play one in the Blogosphere. Take my advice--stop while you are ahead.