Posted by: natehughart | June 2, 2010

Tyreke Evans pulled over for speeding around 130 MPH

This is old news. Most of this is just a glorified op-ed column. So, if that bores you leave now. If not, trudge on!

There is the obligatory original announcement from Melody Gutierrez (who is working the crime beat now instead of the backup Kings writer–amazing), the writeups from Jason Jones/Bill Bradley/Marcos Breton and the like. You have TZ’s reaction (and the original fanshot at StR which is worth reading), Zach Harper’s reaction, Bryan from A Royal Pain, and Blake Ellington from Bleed Black and Purple. Trey Kirby of Ball Don’t Lie also had some good points, and hell it was a minor note in Henry Abbott’s bullets in his Tuesday Bullets post on TrueHoop. (There is an interesting post by LZ Granderson made about Greg Oden back in 2007. Totally unrelated to Tyreke Evans, but there is some good thoughts in there that are relevant to what happened with Tyreke yesterday.)

Tyreke Evans apologized via Twitter, Sam Amick had his say over at Fanhouse, and even his brother said something to the Kings about it via Twitter. Plus, Tyreke was told publicly (and privately) to apologize. Lots of stuff out there to chew on if you like to read & read & read.

So, first off, thanks to the numerous StR folks who got this stuff up first. Thanks to Melody Gutierrez and Jason Jones who got some good stuff off that’s important. (Including this blog entry by JJ that addresses some other issue’s that are pretty important.)

Now, onto the more important stuff. First, I’ll acknowledge that the important people in Tyreke’s life have acknowledged this. So, in a way, writing about it still increases the talking about it some. Still I think it’s worth talking about as I’ve seen a lot of different small stuff I’d like to address here since I’ve said little about it myself.

(Here is the next day Bee stories that have already come out while I was writing this. Jones story and Breton’s story.)

Was Tyreke Evans arrested due to racial profiling?

According to Gutierrez (and Jones), it was part of a felony traffic stop when someone has been speeding excessively. So therefore regardless of the fact that Tyreke was black, it was typical procedure to put the occupants of the vehicle in handcuffs until it could be determined that there was no crime or anything other going on other than the speeding. Ultimately, that’s what happened. CHP determined on the spot that there was no drugs or alcohol (I wasn’t surprised that Tyreke was found without that stuff, but it was a relief. Too many athletes that I wouldn’t have thought who have done that kinda thing have unfortunately. I was hoping Tyreke wasn’t another athlete on a list that’s way too long.)

But there’s another point: If the windows were tinted and police couldn’t see in the car, how did they really know what was going to happen until they operated normally? That’s one reason I don’t think it was racially profiling.

This is Racial Profiling according to the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union).

Even better, here is the ACLU’s tips for what you should do when you get arrested. (It is anything anyone in law enforcement or a lawyer would tell you. It’s stuff I’ve been told to do, but I’ve never been in a position to be arrested either. So, yeah. Most of what the card suggests seems like common sense to me.) Given that most people have been stopped for a moving violation (speeding mostly), myself included, I don’t think anything the ACLU suggests is that extreme. However, given the speeds involved with Tyreke’s traffic stop was extreme. Hence the guns drawn by the CPU officers and Tyreke and his passenger put in handcuffs.

Having said that, I’m not going to draw comparisons to the completely racist and arbitrary Arizona immigration law and Tyreke getting pulled over for doing 130 MPH on I-80. No such thing or comparison there. So, really, unless Tyreke’s race into play happened (and one StR member has pointed out that officers have arrested him after knowing he was white under a similar circumstance) to him being served with excessive justice (which is a fine and 30 days of a suspended driving license), than I don’t think racial profiling is the exact phrase I’d use here.

Was coverage over the top in this whole deal?

Personally, I think not. But I think Jason Jones said it far better than I did in his recent blog post:

I’ve already been asked if we’re making too big a deal of the situation. No one was injured. Evans wasn’t drinking alcohol and drugs weren’t involved. But Evans is the most popular athlete in a one-team town. And he was clocked at 130 miles per hour. That speed would have been news in any city if it involved a professional athlete.

Yup, it would have been news in every city. People can make a big deal out of this if they choose, or say that it proves Tyreke had something to do with the shooting in 2007 that Tyreke’s cousin actually did. The people aware of the entire story know otherwise though. I hope you aren’t thinking this is anything more than a young man who simply is employed to know no limitations on the basketball court doing something that definitely screams “no limitations” where the consequences of these types of actions are deadly.

In the conversations I (Jason Jones) had with Evans and others today for the story that will run in tomorrow’s paper, I think Evans realizes how serious the situation is. Evans doesn’t seek attention. He wasn’t begging for more attention when the 20-5-5 campaign was in full swing. Evans doesn’t like this kind of focus on him. I’d be shocked if Evans was caught speeding anytime soon.

Makes sense to me. Tyreke Evans has been fiercely protective of his personal brand to the point where he has no tattoo’s and has a very limited entourage that is essentially his family. Many NBA players have entourages 2 or 3 times bigger than what Tyreke Evans family currently stands as. This traffic stop, because of the timing, is probably being made to a big deal. But tomorrow it will blow over. And, given that JJ said it better than I could, here is his last statement from that post:

And for those asking if this incident is a sign of a character flaw with Evans, please stop. I’m not excusing Evans’ speed, but unless you’ve never gone a mile over the speed limit, don’t use this a chance to attack Evans unfairly.

Are there any legal ramifications from this?

There is going to be a fine, probably as big as it can get because of all the expenses involved, and Tyreke may lose his license for a few days. (I doubt it.) Because the tint in Tyreke’s car is not allowed, he’ll likely have to get it fixed or take it back to Pennsylvania (where it’s allowed apparently). At some point, he’ll have to show the car’s tint is fixed and that will be that.

Beyond that stuff, what other legal ramifications? Tyreke wasn’t drinking, under the influence of other illegal substances that get you put in jail, or did anything that required him to be handled other than the way it was. Tyreke was cited, he drove off (maybe to the pickup game; maybe not) and his court date is in July. That’s the end of it.

Is it true that Tyreke was actually racing someone?

It was mentioned in the original Gutierrez/Jones article on Tuesday, and nobody else has come forth as of now. It’s not likely anyone will say anything publicly to the CHP or to the Bee in this instance given that one player being arrested is bad enough. Racing is hardly uncommon amongst young men, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Tyreke was racing Donte Greene. But, I’m curious as to how Donte didn’t get caught and Tyreke did. Usually racing happens with cars near each other.

If it is true that there was racing going on, hopefully these guys don’t do it in the future.

So should we be worried about Tyreke and his penchant for driving fast?

I doubt it. There was a great quote from Jones’ piece in the Bee today from Doc Evans:

“He just wants to be normal and we keep telling him he’s not normal,” Doc Evans said. “He’s in a whole different spectrum and everything he does is magnified 1,000 times.”

There was another quote by Geoff Petrie that said pretty much the same thing.

The most interesting thing to me is that Tyreke Evans hasn’t complained about the CHP treatment (probably because there is nothing to be gained from it–no easier way to create a bigger target then complain about treatment when the situation most certainly warranted it), and that Evans hasn’t run from his responsibility. This bodes well for the future. Of all the NBA pitfalls out there, and there are too many for me to name, this is one that says that Tyreke was being a 20 year old kid not worried about his future or anything else.

As Trey Kirby noted over at BDL, this is hardly the first time an athlete has driven over 100 MPH. Breton mentioned that Bobby Phills died driving in a race with David Wesley in Charlotte. That was a big deal for awhile, and yet without fail a big name All-Star gets ticketed for driving fast somewhere. Another player or two gets a DUI throughout the season. No matter how many times you tell someone something, it’s nothing like until you experience it yourself. I’ve been pulled over for speeding several times, but it was the 2nd time that taught me the value of the lesson. Don’t ever be in a hurry because that will always cost you. Nobody was hurt, I was “only” going 80 MPH (50 MPH slower than Reke reportedly was), and no gun was drawn (or should have been) by the Washington State Police.

So, now that Team Tyreke has come down on the kid, does this mean they’re okay?

Back in January, in response somewhat to the feature that Sam Amick did on Team Tyreke while Sam was still with the Bee, TZ had a post about this very issue of how Team Tyreke would effect the Kings down the road. Now I’m pretty sure TZ wasn’t implying that the Kings had to worry about “Team Tyreke” taking over the PR in a situation where this type of behavior on Monday warranted the reaction it did. It was more along the lines of the basketball career that could be affected if the Blueprint didn’t come to the satisfaction of “Team Tyreke”.

My question now: What happens with Team Tyreke if the Kings discipline Tyreke for something he shouldn’t be doing? Because, clearly, both sides were concerned with what Tyreke did. Is there a possibility that this type of action by Tyreke could create some buffer in the future for Team Tyreke & the Kings organization? Because, if nothing else, it showed that they have the same personal interest in Tyreke not doing outlandishly dumb and preposterous things like speeding at 130 MPH. It’s not so much that I’m bothered by anything else, but I’m pretty confused how it’s possible to get up to 130 MPH on that stretch of 80 where there is no stopped traffic for the most part.

At any rate, I’m left with the feeling that Team Tyreke isn’t looking to change the balance of the organization with every thing going on, but more of a support group trying to keep Tyreke on the path he’s always wanted for himself. I personally find it encouraging that the brothers told Tyreke to apologize to the fans via Twitter (or maybe that was simply Tyreke’s choice–makes no difference to me). It’s heck of a lot better than a formal apology made through the team that is phony and lawyer speak. A 140 character apology is far better (to me) than a 140 word letter saying the same thing.

But my point about where the business and personal side collide between Team Tyreke and the Kings organization is this: A prominent athlete speeding at a very excessive speed is not good for business. Yet essentially the same public message was given by both sides. No friction, no need to go against the grain, both sides seemed to have the same interest.

I don’t know if this is going to indicate anything else down the road, but if there was a time to have a rift between the organization and Tyreke Evans’ family, isn’t this the time?

Now what? And, uh, what do you think?

I think what Tyreke did was stupid. Because he did something so dangerous, I don’t think the issue’s of his being put in handcuff’s strikes me as a negative. If anything, hopefully it reinforces the idea that driving at 130 MPH is a profoundly stupid idea.

Athletes tend to have a sense of immortality. That’s one reason I think they speed off the court. Death, or even getting hurt, isn’t a possibility when you’re superhuman on a basketball court. Sometimes, though, a few of these guys forget how easily something can be taken away. Hopefully, this gentle reminder, and this was extremely gentle I might add, serves that reinforcement to Tyreke Evans that you can’t just do what you want. Did Tyreke probably mean to go 130 MPH? No, he probably didn’t. He probably didn’t realize that he was going 130 MPH at any point. I’ve done that too. It does happen.

The reality is that once people have tired of this, they’ll shutup about it. They’ll stop acting like Tyreke is the scourge of the Earth (which he’s not), or evil incarnate. Hopefully the racial profiling people will shutup because, quite honestly, Tyreke earned being put in handcuffs for even a few minutes.

I’m not going to excuse Tyreke’s behavior, or say I disagree with anything the CHP did. As Sam Amick pointed out in his piece citing Doc Evans, there is a time for lecturing and there is a time to let bygones be bygones. Even though Tyreke did something profoundly stupid and pointless, it is time to move on. Tyreke took advantage of a privilege, he took advantage of a luxury that he can afford, and he shouldn’t have. He’s a high profile 20 year old where high profile 20 year olds do (and older high profile athletes) do similar things. It’s part of the culture and that isn’t going to change.

What can change is how Tyreke Evans reacts to driving his vehicles in the future. If this is a 1 time deal (and I’m not going to assume it isn’t), that it’s a 1 time deal where hopefully the seriousness of the situation keeps Tyreke from doing so again. I like joyriding, and I like taking drives. I don’t mind driving 80 MPH on the freeway, and I like to get where I’m going on time. But, the only way to get someplace on time is to simply leave early enough to get there.

Sometimes when you’re 20, and even 20 year old high profile Rookie of the Year’s, you forget that.


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