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Archive for Saturday, February 21, 2009

A-Rod’s misdeeds pale in comparison

February 21, 2009

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Jim Leyritz went to jail Friday. Did you see that?

Did it make the cover of your Sports Illustrated? Did they mention it on NPR, interrupting all that stimulus and bailout talk?

Didn’t think so.

Jim Leyritz, the former Yankee and Angel who slammed a World Series-turning home run in 1996, went to jail in Fort Lauderdale because he was drinking. That violated his bond.

He is awaiting trial for DUI manslaughter.

Yeah, killing somebody, a 30-year-old woman named Fredia Ann Veitch, on Dec. 28, 2007.

It was Leyritz’s 44th birthday. He began the party at the Blue Martini and capped it off at Automatic Slims. When it closed, he hopped into his Ford Expedition and ran a red light, at 3:19 a.m.

His blood-alcohol level was .14. Veitch had two children, 13 and 5. She had been tending bar and was drunk, too, but her Mitsubishi Montero was stopped at the light. It was her final week of bartending. She had just stopped smoking, had just joined a church.

When you use Google to look up “Jim Leyritz” and “outrage” you get 851 entries.

“Alex Rodriguez” and “outrage” beats him badly, with 80,500.

But then we just had a Super Bowl, and the Most Valuable Player was Santonio Holmes of the Steelers, who seemed a likable, chatty fellow, cuddling his three kids and introducing them to everybody.

Holmes also has been on arrest reports three times, for domestic assault, disorderly conduct and using marijuana, for which the Steelers suspended him a game. All week Holmes freely talked of selling drugs in his hometown of Belle Glade, Fla.

Now, this is not a stone-throwing exercise.

Sinners make up 100 percent of our population. Forgiveness should be just as commonplace.

Same for Jason Richardson of the Phoenix Suns, who was arrested for driving 90 mph in Scottsdale the other night with his 5-year-old daughter in the car but not in her car seat.

We all have moments of weakness. But why are we so understanding, or oblivious, when athletes commit real crimes against real people, and then so vengeful and pious when Alex Rodriguez is accused of, and then admits, using a performance-enhancing drug?

To review:

Leyritz is on trial for killing somebody, and even if he is acquitted, there is no dispute that the car he was driving crashed into another car and killed the woman inside.

Rodriguez injected a drug, as he clarified Tuesday, to help him perform better, to help his team win.

Former big-league outfielder Doug Glanville pointed out, in The New York Times, that “not a single player would have agreed” to the tests had he known they would become public.

“We seem to gloss over the fact that these players voted to reopen a collectively bargained agreement in a preliminary effort to address the drug problem,” Glanville wrote. “I hope we learn how to keep our word.”

No chance. Not when so much can be made of humiliating a truly great baseball player whom the media have decided we should dislike.

Meanwhile, Jim Leyritz went to jail.

And Fredia Ann Veitch was one of 12,998 Americans killed by drunk drivers in 2007.

What’s wrong with us?

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