Police in DeKalb County, Ga., arrested Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward on a drunken driving charge early Saturday morning.
Ward was released on bond, and Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette the Steelers and the Rooney family knew Ward had been arrested, but they had no comment.
The Steelers have always had a reputation for placing a heavy importance on players’ character, which puts them in a dilemma after Ward’s arrest. Pittsburgh traded Super Bowl XLIII MVP Santonio Holmes in the 2010 offseason for posting on Twitter that he was about to “wake and bake”.
While Holmes was in the wrong for admitting to participating in an illegal activity, Ward’s offense is much more serious because driving under the influence of alcohol is far more dangerous than smoking marijuana in his own home. If the Steelers felt it appropriate to trade Holmes for his Twitter comments, they should feel similarly compelled to send Ward packing if found guilty of engaging in a behavior responsible for the deaths of over 10,000 Americans per year.
While the Steelers are normally known for eliminating players with character concerns, one notable exception took place last offseason when a 20-year-old college student accused quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of raping her. It was the second of three sexualassaultallegations against Roethlisberger in one year, and although NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sentenced Roethlisberger to a suspension of four games, the same number of games for which Holmes was suspended, the Steelers kept Roethlisberger.
As the details come out regarding Ward’s DUI and the lockout ends, the Steelers will either get rid of him and issue a statement about holding their players to a high standard, or they will keep him and issue a statement about giving players a chance to take responsibility for their actions and learn from their mistakes. Either way, the handling of Roethlisberger and Holmes shows that the decision to keep or release Ward will be based not on morals, but on how crucial of a role the Steelers need him to play in their quest to return to the Super Bowl.
- NFL Scout Talk: Interview Arian Foster
- Getting Psyched For A 2011 NFL Season
- Miami Dolphins: How to Lose a Franchise in 10 Years
- Jacoby Ford & Donnie Avery: Speed over Size
- New York Giants Don’t Need Ahmad Bradshaw or Steve Smith
- The Fall of the USFL
- More Than Just a Quarterback: What Steve McNair Meant to the Titans
- Philadelphia Eagles / Cleveland Browns Trade Running Backs One Year too Soon
- Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs: #1 Fantasy Running Back
- Give Him the Loot: Why Titans Should Break the Bank for Chris Johnson
- The Dark Side of Thursday Football
- Carl Banks says Plaxico Burress could resign with the New York Giants
- NFL Players Turn To Porn During Lockout
- NFL Fans Prepare for Emotional Overload
- Everybody Hates Donovan
- C’mon, Are There Really 11 Wide Receivers Better than Brandon Marshall?
Hank Koebler is an NFL / NCAA Football Writer and On-Air Personality. Hank's work as a journalist has been widely published and he's received numerous citations for his NFL coverage. You may email Hank @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @HankKoebler