Sunday, July 19, 2009

Phoenix Mercury star faces DUI charges

Forward-guard Diana Taurasi is facing three DUI charges after she was pulled over on July 2 for speeding.

ESPN Associated Press reported that a Phoenix police report released earlier this week shows Taurasi's blood-alcohol level was 0.17 percent, which is more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent in Arizona.

Prior to this, Taurasi had scored 22 points in a matchup against the Seattle Storm. A few hours later around 2:30 a.m., Taurasi found herself being questioned by police.

Taurasi is pleading not guilty to the DUI charges and not responsible to the speeding citation.

The police officer who stopped Taurasi said the 27-year-old was driving nearly 20 mph over the 35 mph speed limit.

"We're aware of the recent reports in regards to the situation with Diana Taurasi," the Mercury said in a statement. "Our organization takes these matters very seriously. We have discussed the matter internally and determined that until all the facts are known to us, it would be inappropriate to announce a particular course of action."

Averaging 20 points per game, the WNBA's leading scorer might also miss out on a chance to play in the All-Star Game. ESPN blogger Mechelle Voepel said Taurasi has not been voted in for the All-Star Game as a starter, however, Taurasi could still be chosen as a reserve.

While Taurasi's career might have hit a rough patch, her freedom is still in question. Will she serve time in jail? How long will she be suspended from the league? All of these questions might not be answered right away, but Taurasi will appear in court on July 22.

My mother was the first person to tell me about Taurasi's DUI's, and I couldn't believe it. I'm a huge supporter of the WNBA and Diana Taurasi. The thought of her committing such a dangerous and reckless act seemed impossible, but then I remembered she is human.

Taurasi made a huge mistake. Monumental, astronomical even. She could have killed herself or someone else on the road. It was stupid and she should have known better.

My last blog entry dealt with drinking and driving. I included a death clock to give readers a sense of many people die in a hour, day or even a week. Taurasi could have easily been one of those fatalities. Or worse, she could have killed an innocent bystander.

I give no sympathy for her actions, but I do think this might have been a wake up call for the young star. She's not the first athlete in the WNBA to receive a DUI, but I think it's a bigger deal for more people because she is a prominent face for the league.

Many NBA athletes have received DUI's and face the consequences, but I think the WNBA might be held to a higher standard because the athletes are female. When the first brawl broke out between the Detroit Shock and L.A. Sparks last year, everyone seemed to be so shocked because these females athletes were acting like the male athletes.

My point is not to get off on a feminist point of view, I'm just simply saying that Taurasi is human. She shouldn't be scrutinized because she's a female athlete. She should be scrutinized because she did something really dumb.

Austin Burton, DIME blogger, said it best when he said "When it comes to off-court behavior, however, [WNBA slogan] “Expect Great” apparently translates to “Expect Perfection.”