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First Round Draft Pick Rumph Arrested
July 10 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
THIS CONTENT IS COPYWRITED, REDISTRIBUTION OF IT (including copy/pasting it to a message board, forum or bbs) IS PROHIBITED AND COULD RESULT IN LEGAL ACTIONS - feel free to quote up to 1 paragraph providing a source link to is included
Maybe it’s the generation gap, because it always seems to be the youngsters getting in trouble with the law (I know gross generalization). But I don’t think so. I’m 20, I’ve been able to drive since I was 16, and drink since I was 19, my brother 23 is the same situation. We are, thus in the same age bracket as players like Mike Rumph or Vinny Sutherland. Neither I, nor my brother, nor any one of our friends has ever been stupid and irresponsible enough to drive while intoxicated. So what posses a NFL player to break the law, or possibly do worse? Maybe it’s the millions, maybe it’s pressure of making it big time, I don’t know - but really it doesn’t matter, there is no excuse for testing intoxicated on a sobriety test or getting arrested for possession, or any other crime for that matter. In some instances it is wrong place, wrong time, and that is somewhat understandable (though the question begs to be asked -why were you in the wrong place?). A charge as simple as the aforementioned should never happen, not in the NFL, Pro Sports or real life.

No civilian, not a single one, has the right to take others lives into their own hands, and that’s exactly what happens when you drive intoxicated. It is like playing Russian roulette with the car being the loaded gun. Certainly, no NFL player is above the law. In case I haven’t made my point yet, let me reiterate, driving under the influence is flat out stupid and irresponsible, and there is simply no excuse for it.

This off-season has been noticeably worse for the 49ers running into the law. Jeremy Newberry has been fighting two cases of battery, Vinny Sutherland was charged for driving under the influence, damaging public property, driving with a suspended license, and leaving the scene of an accident. Kevin Curtis ran from the scene too, only he had nothing to worry about with the law. Most recently Mike Rumph’s intoxicated driving charges cap off a pitiful off-season for the 49ers with respect to the law.

One of the reasons I’ve become such a big 49ers fan is because the team was typically respectable. Criminals were for the Cowboys to worry about. There was just something the 49ers did with their players to keep them ‘clean’. Maybe they gave them classes on the law, maybe it was simply a mystique, maybe that’s the way they were brought into the organization, whatever it was; it was working in the past and doesn’t seem to be any more. It’s time for a change.

In this case, Rumph was charged after being pulled over by the police and subjected to a field sobriety test. Rumph was supposed to be a mature player coming out college, a ‘character guy’, but obviously he still needs help building that character. In Florida the legal limit for blood / alcohol level is 0.08. Rumph failed the test by what is being reported as a small margin. Truth of the matter is that it doesn’t matter how much one fails by, it’s that they fail. Rumph was obviously driving in such a manner that prompted police to pull him over with the suspicion of drunk driving. Regardless of the legal limit, Rumph had to have been intoxicated for the police to pull him over with that suspicion. In this case, the behavior that Rumph exemplified involved running through several stop signs in South Beach Florida at approximately 4:20 AM.

Terry Donahue addressed the situation in the only way he could: “We have been informed that Mike Rumph was arrested Sunday morning in Miami. We were disappointed to hear the news. However, due to the legal issues involved we will not be able to comment any further than that”

In the coming days, we will likely hear stories about how one ‘can feel sober enough to drive’. Again let me stress, that there is no such thing as ‘sober enough’. You are either sober, or you are intoxicated. How hard is it to have a designated driver? To call a taxi? A friend? Certainly, not hard enough to warrant driving with even the legal amount of alcohol in your system. Still, since this message doesn’t seem to hit home anymore, I have a proposition for the 49ers.

The team or maybe even the NFL should give each player a portable breathalyzer test for them to keep in their car. The player should be subject to a penalty if they fail to produce it to a team/nfl representative, or to the police (how hard would it be to get authorities on board with a plan that could save lives?). Players would then be responsible to test themselves, when sobriety is in question - eliminating the excuse of ‘being sober enough’. While there is no substitution for a zero level of intoxication, the law’s limit provides some security and helps eliminate the chance of intoxicated drivers.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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