Thursday, August 14, 2008

DUI: Dumb, Unacceptable, Idiotic

The Rockets had more bad news about Rafer Alston this week. He was arrested for driving drunk at 3:00 in the morning and charged with misdemeanor DUI. Misdemeanor because he has never been convicted of it before. But this is not his first rodeo.

On August 4, 2007, Rafer was charged and later convivted of misdemeanor assault and public intoxication after a confrontation with a parking attendant in which Alston allegedly spit on the attendant. I can only assume that since Rafer was publicly intoxicated and trying to get his car back, had he not been arrested for assault he would have been driving drunk.

Later that month, he was arrested in NYC for allegedly slashing a man's throat with a knife in yet another middle of the night altercation. The charges were dropped in this case because of the conflicting testimony of witnesses, so we have to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one. Regardless, he put himself in a situation where something like that could happen. High profile athletes can't afford to do that. With the money comes the risk.

In college at Fresno State, arguably the most corrupt program in the nation under Jerry Tarkanian, Rafer was twice convicted of misdemeanor assault. In 1996, he beat up a neighbor that complained about Alston's loud music. A month later, he punched his former girlfriend, Rachel Henderson, and knocked her to the ground outside the Fresno State weight room. Prior to that, while in Junior College at Ventura, he was kicked off the team for bashing a sleeping teammate, Shannon Taylor, in the groin with a metal weight following an earlier argument.

So here's the big question. How can the Rockets trade for Ron Artest, who has more baggage than a Samsonite store, and not forgive Rafer Alston? At what point does character begin to matter?

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