Wednesday, September 22, 2010

He's sorry

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP)—Braylon Edwards is sorry. Rex Ryan is tired of all the drama.

Edwards apologized to his New York Jets teammates, coaches, family and fans on Wednesday, a day after he was arrested for drunken driving. He practiced with the team, released a statement and then spoke with the media.

“Being in this situation, being around an environment like this, you truly are appreciative,” Edwards said. “For the event to happen the way it did yesterday, it was sad for me in that situation.”

Edwards was arraigned on drunken-driving charges Tuesday after a breath test showed he had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit when he was stopped on Manhattan’s West Side around 5 a.m., prosecutors said.
Yeah, sure, he's sorry. Edwards, a bully by temperament & profession, was driving a white SUV with  drug dealer tinted windows. I  see you, you can't see me.  He was pulled over for the windows.  Three rich athletes partying in Manhattan all night, couldn't hire a limo.

I remember well the night I resolved never again to drive a car if I had any amount of alcohol in my system. I was at friend's house watching TV. We'd had a few glasses of wine. It was an enjoyable evening, a weeknight.  I was feeling relaxed, not inebriated, but definitely relaxed.   I left my friend's house about midnight. I was a couple of miles from my home in Linden NJ,  maybe five minutes if I made the lights.    I was a good driver, no "points" on my record.  Assessing my own condition, I figured I was "borderline" on alcohol level. If I waited an hour, even less, there'd be no question I'd pass. I was expecting an uneventful, brief trip home.

I hadn't driven 200 yards on a quiet street in a quiet town when a cop pulled me over.  I didn't even notice  him behind me. He must have seen me get into my car.  There was no "reason" to stop me. Looking at my license & registration, of course he asked if I''d been drinking. In fact, I hadn't had wine  in over an hour, & had drank a cup of coffee, I knew he couldn't smell alcohol. I pulled myself together & replied with what I hoped & prayed was a convincing "No." He was more convinced than not. I was sent on my way.

It was a gift.

Maybe I would've passed a sobriety test, maybe not. At Jersey's level it would've been close. I concluded  that one can not make that call for oneself.

 I already was  routinely declining New Year's Eve invites because I didn't want to drive at all on that night. I disliked driving around closing times, 2 or 3 am,  especially Route One on a weekend as the franchise parking lots emptied.  I was so cautious I easily got through police DUI checkpoints. But that one weeknight evening at a friend's house two miles from home could have blown it all.

My story is not unusual.  It's not about drinking, but about drinking & driving. Unless you've always been a teetotaler, never smoked pot, or never owned a car, you've likely DUI or DWI,  & you've probably done it knowingly, in college or whenever.

I went on  a Brotherhood Winery tour where everyone got silly, all ages. The more you "tasted," the more wine they were  likely to sell you at the end. What jolly group we were as we walked, maybe staggered,  down the path afterward to the parking lot carrying our cases & bags.  The brochure hadn't recommended a "designated driver."  The New York State Police could've  posted a checkpoint  with a bus & towtrucks outside the winery gates, but that was a different era.

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It's a little known fact that every NFL player has access to an NFL-provided car service that will pick them up quickly and for free in any US major city and drive them to their destination. All they have to do is call the number. The weird part? The players are paranoid about the service. They believe that the service will inform on them to the owners--who's using the service, who's not--and will hurt their value in the free-agent market.
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