DaMarcus Boozely II: Electric Boogaloo
So DMB had his day in court, and the verdict (well, not really because there was no jury involved, but still you know what I'm talking about) was that he has to pay a $1,500 euro ($1,800) fine and his license will be suspended for six months.
The reports on this incident also give a little more information about just what went down. Apparently DaMarcus had five glasses of champagne (the article does not specify a brand, but we'll assume Cristal or at least Veuve), and was seen "speeding away from a cafe" and "swerving erratically."
So what to make of all this? My first instinct is that the penalty is tough but fair. Eighteen hundred bucks strikes me as a healthy sum of cash, but it likely isn't for a pro athlete (though I can't say just how much Beasely makes). But having your license suspended for six months? That's an absolute killer. I know people who have had to deal with this penalty, and invariably they find the monetary costs and inconvenience of not being able to drive enormous and burdensome.
This whole incident has sparked a bit of a snarkfest among the soccer cognoscenti. Hardliners have suggested that DMB should suffer some penalty at the hands of the USMNT as well in order to send a message about (I suppose) the gravity of his offense. Non-hardliners like me have taken the position that Bease has enough to worry about with the state-imposed penalties and that those alone should be enough to send any message. It would be a different story if DMB's pro athlete status meant that he was getting preferential treatment but in the absence of any evidence of that, this strikes me as a good outcome.
One position--not entirely unreasonable but not one I agree with--is that DMB should be held to a higher standard of conduct than an average citizen because of his pro athlete status. Even if you do buy this, though, it's pretty clear that Beasely has suffered a lot more than the average Joe. If anyone else (at least, any non-celeb) had this happen, it would have been a relatively private event where only the state and close friends/family would have to know about it. But here, Bease has to suffer the additional penalty of major public humiliation in Holland and the US. That additional sanction should be more than enough to satisfy even hardliners who think athletes should suffer for their transgressions more than the rest of us.
Plus, we should all remember how little we know about this. The public facts are that DaMarcus had five glasses of bubbly at a cafe and then drove erratically. Given his slight carriage, he was likely pretty drunk, but still--that's hardly a gargantuan amount to drink. This doesn't forgive his conduct but it also puts it in some perspective. At the very least, nothing about the event suggests that there's something terribly amiss going on (other than one very bad decision).
Ultimately, I think the only action Bruce should take should be to sit down with Bease and figure out what his deal is. Was this a one-time mistake? Or is DaMarcus livin' larger than his diminutive size suggests? mirarchi pointed out in the comments to the earlier thread that Jamar Beasely (DMB's bro) was a king-sized partier and got into trouble for it. Perhaps there's something that runs in the fam here? I suspect this will end here, but Bruce should take some (non-punitive) steps to make sure that's the case.