We are all acutely aware of the Tank Johnson saga, from his trials and tribulations leading up to the Super Bowl to his rehabilitative course in holding. And, of course, the recent traffic stop that led to his release from the Bears. The traffic stop that led to his being charged with a DUI which was later dropped because his BAC was below the alcohol level.
All we heard from the media was that the state of Arizona's law is a bit discretionary, in that even if you are below the legal limit, if the harassing arresting officers deem your condition to indicate that you are impaired; you can be charged regardless of BAC.
Johnson was not charged. Indicating that, apparently, the police did not deem his condition to be at a level of impairment that would constitute their invoking the discretionary application of the DUI law.
Now, we aren't going to get into the Bears cutting Johnson before waiting to see if he would be charged. Quite honestly, this was the straw that broke the camel's back. The Bears heard of the incident and decided to wash their hands of Mr. Johnson.
While the Bears certainly can't be blamed for taking the action they took, the police certainly can be held accountable for exasperating the situation and possibly instigating the Bears into action.
More information about the events the night (early morning) of the stop have come out. And the situation certainly is shining a light on how the police handled a cooperative, concerned and repentant Tank Johnson.
He told police several times that he hadn't had any alcohol, though the blood test suggested otherwise. He said that within 24 hours of being pulled over, he had taken two Valium to help him sleep on a flight to Arizona.
So, from the moment the stop took place, Jones made it clear that he was not drunk. That alcohol was not a factor. That the reason he may have been driving erratically was due to some residual tiredness from him self medicating to get some sleep.
Tank told Bates he was a football player and tried several times to get the officer to let him go. Johnson went from stalling, to panicking, to this: ''Terry was very concerned about the effect of his arrest on his career,'' Bates said in the report. ''After the fingerprinting, Terry asked for an opportunity to meet with Police Chief Tim Dorn to discuss the case. ''I provided him with contact information and advised that the Chief typically worked regular business hours. Terry pointed to the blood sample and requested, 'Don't do anything with that until I talk with the Chief.'''
Again, Johnson proves to be coherent, cooperative and conscientious. Even identifying who he was. And further acknowledging that if the stop was not handled properly and with appropriate attention to detail, it might have an adverse effect on his future.
So far, Johnson seems to have handled the situation with class, dignity and surprising calm.
Here's what the report says happened just before 3:32 a.m., after Bates told Johnson he was failing the field sobriety tests: ''He requested I follow him while he drove to his mother's home.''
Again, Johnson, despite his relaxed state due to his flight, had the good sense to make a reasonable request to ensure that he was able to get home safely. Certainly, it would be foolish of the police to let him drive unsupervised in his current state.
At 3:46: ''Terry stated he did not want to have any problems and requested I release him without completing the investigation.''
Johnson had been forthright and honest with the situation thus far. What was there left to investigate?
Don't feel sorry for Johnson unless you want to blame a culture that gives special breaks to athletes, fostering more bad behavior.
We wonder: When did the police following drowsy drivers to their mama's house become a "special break"?
It just seems like the right thing to do.