The word “Teletubby” is this week’s joke around the NHL. People snicker at a hockey player dressed in a purple Halloween costume; they think it’s funny to see Riley Sheahan in a drunken mess, all while donning Tinky Winky’s PBS wardrobe.
But there’s nothing funny about Sheahan’s Oct. 30 DUI arrest in downtown Grand Rapids. There’s nothing funny about a 20-year old operating a 3,000-pound car as if it’s a go-kart. There’s nothing funny about Sheahan driving the wrong way on a one-way street , all while owning a blood-alcohol content of .30, which is classified as “super drunk” by Michigan law.
Nothing funny at all.
Sheahan, however, comes out of this incident virtually unscathed: He still has a job with the greatest hockey franchise in North America. He’s still playing for the Grand Rapids Griffins, the Wings’ AHL affiliate, which means he’s a lockout-lifting deal away from playing at Joe Louis Arena, a hockey palace with Cup banners and retired numbers hanging in the majestic rafters.
Oh, Sheahan might get some community service and probation, but let’s be real: It’s a slap on the wrist. He’s still a kid fulfilling his dream – and what a dream it is to wear the Winged Wheel.
Ken Holland failed, big time. That’s the brutal truth. He should help Sheahan the best way possible – by releasing him. That might send a stern message, a learning lesson, something needed for a kid who now has two arrests with alcohol, the first being a public intoxication in 2010 as a freshman at Notre Dame.
Holland might be a hockey mastermind for erecting four Stanley Cup championships, but he looks like a numbskull in his failure to inflict much-needed discipline.
No concern that Sheahan has a problem, Kenny?
“We’re gathering information internally and making decisions on what we can do to help him, if he needs help,” Holland told the Detroit Free Press.
If he needs help?
A blood-alcohol content of .30 isn’t a sign he needs help? How about driving the wrong way on a one-way street? How about telling two cops he was “Brendan Smith”?
Get some guts, Holland. You’re supposed to make the determination, here. You’re supposed to be the leader. “If he needs help”? What’s Sheahan gonna do, raise his hand and admit guilt?
Holland’s soft stance on this dampens the severity of drinking and driving. That’s the message it sends, at least. The right move is to terminate Sheahan’s contract and say the organization has a zero-tolerance policy for such actions. Maybe that would send a good message to the public, because the next time a Wings fan drives “super drunk,” they’re fired from their place of employment– and good luck finding a new job for a while, since prospectors would be hesitant to hire an imbecile who endangers civilization.
Holland, however, doesn’t grasp the concept. He’s more concerned about the Wings’ future in the Central Division, rather than the future of a 20-year old who’s likely looking forward to his next party.
You failed, Kenny.
When a grown man named Gary Moeller was arrested in 1995 for an alcohol-related embarrassment, he lost his job as University of Michigan football coach. That’s how you send a message: the hard way.
Here’s an even better comparison: in October, TCU quarterback Casey Pachall was arrested for driving while intoxicated, a blood-alcohol content above.17, which doubles the legal limit in Texas.
What happened to him? TCU coach Gary Patterson suspended Pachall indefinitely, and found him help.
“(He’s) suspended from competition until we come up with a good answer for him, how we’re going to handle life and how we’re going to do things,” Patterson said during his weekly radio show on SiriusXM radio, according to star-telegram.com.
Sheahan should’ve experienced a similar fate. Thank God he didn’t kill anyone. He could barely stand during a sobriety test . Watch the video. It’s scary to think he was steering a 3,000 pound piece of metal, recklessly.
The Wings organization, however, does not seem to care. They sat Sheahan one measly game and allowed him to skate just five days after the incident.
“Obviously, Riley made a very poor decision,” Holland told the freep.
Obviously, you did too, Kenny. Shame on you.