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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Why Does UAB Not Take Drunk-Driving Charges Seriously?


Two public figures faced repercussions on the job Monday for being charged with drunk driving.

On the same day, UAB hired a head football coach who has pleaded guilty to charges related to drunk driving. And that came five years after UAB had hired its previous football  coach, who also had a DUI conviction in his background.

When former Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee was introduced Monday as UAB's new coach, apparently not a word was uttered about the ugliness in McGee's background. Not only did he face DUI charges while serving as an assistant coach at Northwestern in 2007, he also pleaded guilty in 1992 to charges related to a string of burglaries while he was a student at Arizona State.

What does it say about UAB's values that it would hire two straight head football coaches--Neil Callaway preceded McGee--who've had problems with drinking and driving? A reasonable person might say that a DUI conviction should not eliminate someone from consideration for a high-profile, leadership job--and I would not necessarily argue with that. But hiring two in a row? And shouldn't UAB address the issue head on? McGee's criminal history is easily available on the Web, so it's hardly a secret. Why not bring it up at his introductory press conference, let him talk about how he has grown from those experiences, and move forward?

UAB seems to be trying to hide the problem in the closet, and that makes the university look shallow and small.

Garrick McGee
Some employers do take DUI issues seriously--and we learned that on Monday. Randy Babbitt, head of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), has been placed on leave after being arrested for driving while intoxicated in a Washington, D.C., suburb. Multiple news outlets are reporting today that Babbitt has resigned.

Meanwhile, ESPN fired hockey analyst Matthew Barnaby after he was arrested for DUI in Clarence, New York. The network wasted little time in taking action after Barnaby's arrest:

Matthew Barnaby was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated on Monday morning.

Following the arrest, ESPN terminated its contract with Barnaby, effective immediately. He had worked as an NHL analyst for ESPN since 2008.

"We spoke with Matthew and informed him that we terminated his contract, effective immediately," an ESPN spokesman said.

Barnaby was arrested by members of the Erie County Sheriff's Department after deputies were called to respond to a Porsche Cayenne driving on its front rim, causing sparks. The Sheriff's Department said in a report that Barnaby failed several field sobriety tests and refused a breath test (which led to the revocation of his driver's license).

Babbitt and Barnaby are out of work because of DUIs, and their future job prospects are uncertain. Perhaps they should apply for positions at UAB.

1 comment:

James Greek said...

if you drink and drive in Alabama you lose! I guess that doesn't apply to UAB.