Not even speeding, though he was alleged to have been going 40 in a 25 mph zone. If you’re the DA, why wouldn’t you charge him with at least speeding?
But the main issue was Johnson’s BAC: .072, which is under the legal .08 limit, but in Arizona you can be charged with DUI if they even think you are impaired. Which, I don’t know, that sounds pretty fuzzy to me. Like a commenter said at Deadspin the other day on this issue, that would imply that even if you are over .08, they shouldn’t be able to charge you unless they can show you were actually impaired. But this is the legal system, and logical consistency is rare.
So what we have left is this: The Chicago Bears cut Tank Johnson for the infraction of getting pulled over at 3:30 in the morning.
Or, more accurately, for the infraction of requiring the Bears to deal with the fallout from getting pulled over at 3:30 in the morning.
Wow. That’s a pretty low bar, since cops can pull people over any time they like. Yes, Johnson has had some legal problems, and perhaps they were just sick of dealing with the PR mess, and were just looking for any excuse to get rid of him. And in the end it probably makes sense, since now they can bring in somebody else who will (they hope) cause less off-the-field PR trouble.
But I don’t really like the example this sets, where it seems like fear and PR rules the day over actual misdeeds that the team could point to and say “THIS was the last straw”. The guy served jail time earlier this year, and has been in and out of legal trouble for two years or more, and that wasn’t enough to cut him loose, but being pulled over by the police at 3:30 in the morning gets him canned?
What is this, seventh grade?
But of course, you and I know the real issue for the Bears was the national publicity surrounding this non-story, which means the media and all the other bottom feeders that exploit negative publicity to trash people without the bother of waiting for facts.
No, we live in a time when it is necessary to judge people quickly, with a minimal set of facts, and we don’t like to revisit our judgments. Sober reflection might lead to having to answer questions from the hounding news media for, like, a couple weeks, and that we must not abide.