Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jalen Rose: The Victim Of Athlete Profiling?

Current ESPN basketball analyst and former Fab 5 member Jalen Rose was sentenced to 20 days in jail for a DUI conviction. He had no past criminal record and is viewed as a model citizen and a role model thats ponsors charter schools and donates his time and money to charitable causes. The mayor of Detroit even spoke on his behalf asking the court for leniency in this matter. I'm not condoning drunk driving, but to say the punishment didn't fit the crime would be an understatement.

Charles Barkley received 3 days in jail for the same infraction. Donte Stallworth killed a man while over the legal limit and barely spent a month behind bars. I find it difficult to believe the actions of Jalen Rose were any more severe than those two incidents. 20 days in jail far exceeds the sentencing recommendation for a DUI so why the harsh judgment?

In my estimation Jalen Rose is a victim of the media coverage that surrounds past and present athletes. The cumulative effect of hearing countless stories regarding DUI's and athletes influenced the judges decision. He saw it as an opportunity to make a statement about the preferential treatment he feels athletes receive. The length of the sentence had nothing to do with the crime, it was a vindictive way to send a message. The American judicial system is tired of hearing these cases.

Jalen Rose is not the last high profile athlete (past or present) that will have to deal with a DUI conviction. I wonder if future judges will feel compelled to follow suit given the precedence that is being established in Detroit. My guess is this isolated incident won't lead to sweeping changes in the sentencing guidelines.

Instead this case will be looked upon as Jalen Rose running into a conservative, idealistic judge that took his frustrations out on him. The best thing for Jalen to do is take his medicine and keep it moving. Easy for me to say, I'm not the one that has to do the 20.

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