Miami, Drugs and Athelets...Miami's been quiet...for a change...

June 11, 2008 by David S. Seltzer

Athlete’s, alcohol and drugs seem to be dominating the news media these days. From Cedric Benson and his multiple drinking and driving arrests, to ex-DB Dexter Reid pleading to possession of marijuana with intent to distribute (he was acquitted of carrying a concealed weapon), to Nick Kaczur, a member of the New England Patriots, arrested for possession of OxyContin, a controlled substance, and in the middle of a federal government investigation, to Kenny Stabler, a former NFL star arrested for his third DUI. And that ladies and gentlemen is just the recent cases of alcohol and drugs in the NFL.

Everyone deserves a second chance in life, but should athletes, the people our youth look up to be held to a higher standard? Are they the ones our youth are seeking to emulate? Drugs in sports are nothing new. Major sports are addressing the use of narcotics with the public arrests of numerous players, and the federal government spending tax payer money inquiring as to what’s going on, and for what, what does the federal government hope to accomplish? Should an athlete’s careers be tarnished forever, or are they human, and entitled to error?

Having been a prosecutor in Miami-Dade County Florida, I have dealt with my fair share of drug cases, but I can tell you not all jurisdictions deal with cases in the same manner. Miami is very forgiving to first time drug offenders, sometimes second. The Court’s have programs in place such as drug court, whereby the defendant participates in court ordered treatment and following a set amount of time, absent no set-backs, the case would be dismissed and the individual does not have a felony record.

The judicial system is supposed to be rehabilitative, but not all people see it that way. Some people perceive it to be punishment first, and rehabilitate second. I can understand that mentality for certain crimes, but remember the book, Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, people need to pick and choose their battles. Scarring someone for life for one indiscretion isn’t what we as a society ought to be doing or I don’t believe ever set out to do. The law is here to help and guide us. If we slip up, then so be it, we work to fix it, but should it mean your life is scarred and ruined? Guess it depends where you commit the crime…