A Carolina Hurricanes blog with occasional news about the rest of the NHL.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Braylon Edwards and Ryan Getzlaf

While I was preparing my lineups for my two fantasy football teams, I came across the news that Cleveland Browns wide receiver Braylon Edwards was recently pulled over by an Ohio police officer for driving 120mph in a 65mph zone. The responding officer, who was described as "star struck" recognized the star player and let him go without a citation. After the incident was brought to the attention of a ranking officer, Edwards was indeed served with a citation. By Ohio law, even if a person is "let go", a citation can still be issued up to six months later.

According to many reports, including this one, Edwards was cooperative and was not under the influence of anything. He had a passenger who was physically ill and "vomited all over the dashboard" of Edwards' Bentley.

Still, even with the sick passenger and the possibility that there was a medical emergency, Edwards' comments strike me as odd:
It doesn't matter what was happening in the car. It's my personal business. The officer let me go. I'm not the first person to go over the speed limit, I'm sure I'm not the first person to get let go. It is what it is. The situation's been taken care of. It's not a distraction to the team. It's over with.

The boldfaced part sounds almost as if Edwards is pleading the fifth on bribing the officer. Free tickets? A billion dollars?

Back in May, Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf was involved in a similar but very different incident. He was issued a citation for going 85mph in a 65mph zone. This report in the Orange County Register tells us that a California Highway Patrol commander tampered with the citation, making it disappear from court records.

In each case, the citation was ultimately issued. In the Edwards case, it was the subordinate officer who screwed up. In the Getzlaf case, it was the ranking official who screwed up. The CHP commander was placed on administrative leave. The Avon Ohio cop was given a stern lecture.

So the point is that these star players were, in some way, given preferential treatment by the law enforcement officers. However, the officers were the ones who ended up being in trouble.

I kinda wish we'd go to the same system that they have in Finland. Traffic citation penalties are based upon the severity of the offense and also on the driver's income. Teemu Selanne was once given a citation for $40,200 when he was involved in a crash. A Nokia executive was once given a $103,000 citation for going 46mph in a 30mph zone. This fine was later reduced to $5,200. It's an interesting concept, and I assume that there is a minimum fine for the not so wealthy folks.

So, if Braylon Edwards knew that he would be fined $200k or so for speeding like that, he wouldn't do it.

Edwards, who was a top receiver in the NFL last season, had a terrible game in week one. He had only 14 yards receiving in a loss to the Steelers. The Aycock Army is hoping that he can return to 2007 form and put the speeding ticket behind him.


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