So here's a scenario: Former wealthy jock is out on the town, has several alcoholic beverages, gets in his car, starts driving home, comes to an intersection, and hits another car carrying a young mother.
How do you react? My immediate reaction was that the former jock was/is an irresponsible ass who deserves to go to prison for killing the poor woman.
Pretty cut and dry, right?
OK, here's another scenario: Former wealthy jock, who is now broke as a joke, has been abandoned by all his jock friends, and is living in virtual exile while awaiting trial for DUI and vehicular manslaughter. He says he was over the legal limit, but was not drunk that night (mincing words, maybe?), and his culpability in the accident comes down to him having an obstructed view at that intersection. He also now claims to have evidence (presumably from police reports related to the fatal accident) that the dead woman was drunk driving too, that she was more impaired than he was, and that at the time of the accident she wasn't just driving drunk but was also texting on her cell phone.
You see where this is going? The former wealthy jock is arguing that while his Blood Alcohol Content was above the legal limit, he was not impaired while driving that night. He says that he struck the other car, because his view was obstructed at an awkward intersection. And he's suggesting that considering how far over the legal limit the dead woman allegedly was, along with the fact that she was allegedly texting while drunk driving, maybe she's responsible for the accident...or more responsible than him.
Given the alleged "facts" revealed in the second scenario, does your opinion of the former jock change - for better or worse?
BTW, if you live outside South Florida or aren't a sports fan, none of this is hypothetical. Former New York Yankees star Jim Leyritz is the former jock in question. The woman killed in the traffic accident was Fredia Ann Veitch.
Miami Herald sports columnist Dan Le Batard interviewed Leyritz a few days ago to get his side of the story.
Le Batard caught heat for the column by some readers who thought he showed too much compassion toward Leyritz, but he defended the story, arguing that Leyritz's side of the story hadn't been told before.
Le Batard, in a radio interview this week also raised an interesting question: He didn't cut Leyritz any slack, but he feels for the guy. And what's wrong with that? Naturally he feels for Veitch's family even more, 'cause she doesn't get a shot at a comeback. But where is it written that you can't feel for someone, even if they did wrong? You can feel bad that their life crashed (no pun intended) and burned, even while acknowledging that they played a HUGE role in that crash.
On that note, after reading Le Batard's column, I feel bad for Leyritz. I too feel worse for Veitch's family, but I still feel bad at how far Leyritz has sunk.
Full disclosure: I've had a pint or two after work or during dinner out w/Mrs. B and friends, and then I've driven home without incident. Never again. If nothing else, this is a textbook cautionary tale.