The Dodgers Are Failing the Yasiel Puig Test

On Saturday, December 29th, at 9:30 am, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig was arrested for reckless driving in Greater Miami after being caught driving 110 miles per hour. Puig’s mother and sister were also in the car. This was the second time Puig was caught going over forty miles over the speed limit. In April, Tennessee police clocked him driving 97 miles per hour in a 50 m.p.h. zone.

Puig with his 2013 Lincoln Navigator. He leased this car to be "less conspicuous." Photo: ##http://www.edmunds.com/car-news/dodgers-sensation-yasiel-puig-goes-under-the-radar-with-2013-lincoln-navigator.html##Edmunds.com##
Puig with his 2013 Lincoln Navigator. He leased this car to be “less conspicuous.” Photo: ##http://www.edmunds.com/car-news/dodgers-sensation-yasiel-puig-goes-under-the-radar-with-2013-lincoln-navigator.html##Edmunds.com##

The Florida state police deserve credit for not allowing the glare of celebrity to blind justice. They charged Puig with reckless driving, took him to Collier County Jail for processing, and blasted him in a statement for his dangerous behavior.

TMZ reports:

The officer writes in the report, “By driving in this manner Mr. Puig showed willful and a total disregard for the safety of his mother and the other two passengers and any vehicles on the roadway and placed the life’s [sic] of everyone in his vehicle and every vehicle that he was passing on the roadway in danger.”

The officer goes on to say that if a crash had occurred, “His mother and the two passengers would not [have] survived as resulted [sic] of his action.”

Now that Puig has been caught not once, but twice, engaging in behavior that literally puts everyone near him in danger, it’s past time for the Dodgers to respond and take control of the situation. Respond they did, in a statement so weak that even the Los Angeles Times’ baseball columnist and Dodgers cheerleader Bill Platschke recognized it as woefully insufficient.

It goes without saying that if Puig were wandering the streets waiving a loaded gun around the Dodgers would do more than call him to ask him to behave nicely or commenting that they’re “very disappointed.” But when it comes to putting people’s lives in danger, Puig is basically doing the same thing. No amount of dramatic home runs or diving catches excuses that behavior.

Except of course, in modern America it does.

Los Angeles has been experiencing what happens when a young man is given nearly unlimited wealth, fast cars, and notice that there are zero consequences to driving dangerously with Justin Bieber. They will continue to violate the law, receive gentle touches on the wrist (or in Bieber’s case the system may make excuses for their poor choices…the Paparazzi made him do it!), and break the law again. So far neither Bieber nor Puig has seriously hurt anyone.

But even Platschke knows that the clock is ticking on Puig who he refers to as “an accident waiting to happen.” As long as nobody steps up and takes away the car keys, it’s also ticking for those unfortunate enough to share the road with them.

  • Alex Brideau III

    Assuming docking a player’s pay is a non-starter, perhaps pro sports teams should start adding good-behavior bonuses into their contracts, not unlike what they do with performance bonuses. For example, a player could earn an extra $2M for the season if they remain squeaky clean, but a lower bonus for a misdemeanor conviction and no bonus for a felony, or something along those lines. Sad that it’s come to this, but if hitting athletes in their pocketbooks helps improve their behavior off the field, I’m all for it.

  • I don’t know how much his current contract is worth, but I can guarantee you if he doesn’t get this kind of behavior under control his next one is going to be much less generous. Who wants to invest tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in a guy who might end up permanently disabled, dead, or in prison because of his reckless behavior?

    That’s not to say that the correct response is to dismiss this and say “he’ll pay for it next time negotiations come up.” Real people, Puig included, are put at serious risk because of this kind of behavior, and the Dodgers’ response is really disappointing.

  • dominic

    puig shouldn’t do that he is such a good player

  • Stink Eye

    failing what “test”? the dodgers are a professional baseball team. they aren’t baby sitters, and they certainly aren’t parents. in fact, his parents were apparently in the car with him.

    and why the media thinks that 110 mph is significantly worse because barney fife of a very poorly constructed sentence is beyond me.

  • Jav

    Actually he is being under paid at 7 years 42 million.

    Considering Andre Ethier got 5/85 that is vastly underpaid.

    Relax captain crunch.

  • Thanks for the totally irrelevant point. This is not about baseball.

  • If someone is injured or killed by Puig while he is either travelling with the Dodgers or going between his residence in Los Angeles and Chavez Ravine, I should think a good trial attorney could make a significant dent in the fortunes of Guggenheim Baseball Management

  • Jeff

    Yeah unfortunately he drives the same way that he plays the outfield… recklessly.

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