Last weekend, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was arrested in Columbus after he tried to avoid a DUI checkpoint near campus. He is underage, and reportedly blew a 0.099 into a breathalyzer, yet he was only charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Naturally, Buckeyes fans have flocked to defend him, and the results are about what you’d expect.
Here’s B. Belinky:
Ray: I can’t believe local law enforcement arrested J.T. Barrett for slightly over 0.08. There was no apparent danger, no boisterous or risky behavior, no bad driving reported. And how accurate is a breathalyzer, anyway, when you’re right at the minimum level?
Besides, some think checkpoints aren’t constitutionally legitimate, as they impinge on one’s right to privacy.
Whether he’s a football player or just another college kid, law enforcement needs to use better judgment. Fight real crime and arrest clear alcohol overages, not the marginal ones!
And even better is this one from James Schulz of Lewis Center, Oh.:
Editor: First of all, any negative talk about J.T. Barrett is that crap that comes from the south end of a north-facing male bovine. I am old enough not to give much for political correctness.
Second, this happened on an off weekend when athletes can at least be students for a weekend and relax and have fun.
Third, underage drinking and a blood-alcohol content threshold of 0.08 are artificial limits set by a cowardly Ohio General Assembly more interested in federal highway funds than what was right for Ohio.
J.T. did not rob, steal, murder, lie, cheat, deceive or any other low-life actions. He was enjoying time off. For someone who spends that much time in the limelight, can they not be given a little time to themselves?
From what I hear from people in the know, J.T. and his teammate Cardale Jones are both stand-up people. I would trust either with watching my grandkids all the way up to quarterbacking my team to a national championship.
As for this issue, it is a mountain made from a molehill. A one-game suspension is all it is and all it needs to be. Nothing more, nothing less.
For underage drivers in Ohio, the legal limit is 0.02, so Barrett was five times over the legal limit. Even if he were of age, 0.099 is clearly above the legal limit of 0.08. As far as defenses go, “This happened on the weekend!” and “Checkpoints impinge on my privacy!” are truly fantastic.
Photo via Getty: h/t Todd Jones