A certain invincibility must attend one’s assent to stardom, after all, fame was not easily won in most cases. As one joins the elite, one may feel they are part of a privileged society, immune to the same weaknesses of the average person. But often one's Achilles tendon will exhibit itself at the worst times, as in the recent DUI arrest of NFL great Bruce Smith. This latest arrest is especially unflattering as it arrives just months before Smith will be receiving his highest honor – induction into Pro Football's Hall of Fame. Additionally, it is his third arrest for DUI in just over a decade, revealing a pattern of weakness.
The first case was dismissed. In the second case, he was acquitted. As the NFL’s all-time sacks leader, he has graced the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins for nearly a two-decade career. How will this most recent case be handled? Will it be strategically postponed until after the ceremony? Or will he win the case, leveraged by all the good things he has done for the community?
His lawyer has already taken the offense on having issued a public apology to his family, fans, and friends.
Although in one past arrest, Smith was found essentially asleep at an intersection, harmlessly intoxicated, it's hard to drive on these roads without seeing all the small white crosses documenting past alcohol related fatalities. I addressed some of them in my artcle, "Drive Safely on This Death Drive." In Smith's latest incident, he was speeding, and that is what got the attention of the special DUI task force in Virginia Beach that stopped him. We won’t know the exact level of intoxication because Smith refused a DUI test.
I remember first meeting Smith some 20 years ago in a karate dojo in Virginia Beach. He emerged from his Mercedes sedan, sporting popular sports logos, evidence of a thriving endorsement agreement. In the dojo, he wasn’t beyond feeling pain, grimacing as I stretched him out by pushing his thigh against his chest. I witnessed him flowing through his katas – dance forms, like a refrigerator on skates, as he gained a belt promotion.
While Smith has had his ears open for advice from such bigwigs as Donald Trump in matters of business, none of his powerful supporters have been influential enough to halt Smith’s potentially destructive behavior of driving while intoxicated.
But now I will impart my advice to Smith – Do one more thing for the community – and yourself – get a chauffeur! You can afford it. I drive the same streets here as you do, and don’t want to see your luck run out and you hurt others or yourself. I'd rather remember you as the local hero you have been.
If not being behind the wheel crimps your style, a passenger seat in the limo can be customized with a steering wheel where you can fall asleep like in the old days. We’ll place the limo bar right next to your seat to insure the desired level of intoxication. And you won't get charged with refusing a DUI test, because you won’t be asked to take one.
But, the best option is to do what you have done so many times on the field – defeat the opponent, in this case, alcoholism. Winning this battle will perhaps be as valuable as winning a star.