Here's what we know:
- Al was pulled over for driving under the influence and will be due in court sometime in April.
- Al has been suspended without pay by the Wolves for 2 games, costing him nearly $300,000 in salary.
- Al has issued a heartfelt apology.
Here's what we don't know:
- The exact BAC.
- How many drinks he had before getting into his vehicle.
- If the NBA's CBA allows for the Wolves to preemptively take away 2 games worth of pay before any legal outcomes.
We have had a fairly mixed reaction to the news of Al's arrest on the site. Everything from "get rid of him now" to "don't judge the guy" has been expressed. After thinking about the matter for a day, it appears that the Wolves have acted appropriately considering past NBA DWIs, and somewhat proportionately, considering what an average citizen would have to pay if they were pulled over for driving under the influence.
At the end of the day I think the general sense from the comments on this subject is a feeling of disappointment. Al Jefferson makes nearly $150,000/game and he couldn't find the good sense to hop in a cab. Did he think he was OK to drive? Who knows? I'm sure all of you have heard the commercials that say "Buzzed driving is drunk driving". I think that probably applies to the situation with Al. No matter how little alcohol you think you have put into your system, you don't really know how much is in there in terms of BAC, or how that amount has affected your ability to properly operate a vehicle.
Whatever the case, it will be up to Al to prove that this sort of thing will never happen again and it will be up to his fans to decide whether or not to forgive him. He is going to have to earn this. By all accounts (including some sent to us today from folks with the team), Al is a fantastic individual. This may be true (and we think it is), but even wonderful people can do awful and stupid things. Al is lucky more than anything else. He is lucky that no one was injured. He is lucky that he is so financially blessed so as to be able to absorb the high costs associated with getting a DWI. He is lucky that most people will judge him by his on-court performance rather than his after-hours activity. If he is a good and decent person (and we have no reason to believe otherwise), than he should also be lucky and blessed enough to regain the good graces of his many fans.