Thursday, November 17, 2011

For Mizzou Coach Gary Pinkel, a two-game suspension seems right

image No jokes about the SEC from this space.

Overnight, Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel was arrested under suspicion for impaired driving by Boone County law enforcement. He was booked and made the $500 bail.

Earlier today, both he and athletics director Mike Alden released statements regarding the incident. 


"Last night after practice, I met some friends for dinner. After dinner, I was stopped by a Boone County officer and received a citation for impaired driving. First and foremost, I am very disappointed in myself for my lack of judgment in this instance. Nobody should drink and drive, including me. My staff and I constantly reinforce with each of our players the importance of not putting yourself into a position such as this. I did not follow that here and for that, I sincerely apologize to the University of Missouri, to our administration, to the Board of Curators and to our fans. I have already met with our staff and communicated with our players and have apologized to them. I accept full responsibility for my actions and will abide by whatever course of action our leadership deems appropriate."

Alden’s statement was terse:

"We are extremely disappointed in Gary’s lack of judgment," Alden said in his statement. "He is known as a man of great character and integrity. However, this absolutely goes against everything we stand for, and everything that he teaches his players in regards to our social responsibilities. We hold ourselves to very high standards, and this is a very serious breach of those responsibilities. We are gathering facts and will take action appropriately, and when those actions are determined, we will communicate them publicly."

In August of 2010, Pinkel suspended two players on his team for the first two games of the season following their arrests for DUI. Having Pinkel miss the Tigers’ last two games of the 2011 season would be appropriate and consistent with punishment he has meted out in the past.

To those clamoring for his dismissal—just stop. Pinkel’s reputation as a man of good character and the goodwill he’s established throughout the coaching profession is more than enough of a mitigating circumstance. The timing of this incident is truly unfortunate, and Alden may decide that a simple suspension in this toxic environment doesn’t go far enough. Pinkel is a good man who made a one-time mistake in judgment. Let he who is without sin, y’all…

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