The Pitts of the world
The Houston Texans are like the soy cheese of the sporting world — something that fills a slot and takes up space, but has absolutely no taste, no remarkable qualities at all. When was the last time you read anything about the Houston Texans that didn’t involve them as the straight man in some other team or player’s feature revue? Okay, so they stole Matt Schaub away from the Falcons just in time for the Vick story to explode — a nice move, but basically a tangential piece of the Vick saga, not really a Texans story at all. Mario Williams is just a 290-pound sidekick to the Reggie Bush/Vince Young media phenomena. Andre Johnson is a nice receiver, but any appearance of his on the front page of ESPN.com is usually a slot on the all-underrated list, or something like that.
But aside from those three guys . . . it’s like that Chris Rock joke about never seeing two Native Americans together. Can anyone out there name even two more Houston Texans? Basically, I’ve got DeMeco Ryans, and . . . DeMeco Ryans. Until now, that is. Because this week the Texans finally lifted themselves up out of the common herd, cornering their own unique niche in the sports-crime world.
A year ago, you may remember, a Texans offensive lineman (his name was Fred Weary; we can excuse you for not recalling) was pulled over for failing to signal during a lane change and ended up being Tasered by the Houston Police Department. The whole incident ended up being a big mess, with Weary ultimately suing the pants off the Houston PD for excessive force.
Well, guess what? This past week we had another crazy incident involving a routine traffic stop, a hulking Texans offensive lineman, and the local PD. This time, it was starting left guard Chester Pitts who got pulled over, part of a dragnet that had been set up to catch people making illegal left turns at an intersection in southwest Houston.
Pitts made such a turn, but when cops walked away from his car to finish writing a ticket for another offender, he took off. (Maybe he was afraid of being Tasered.) A short chase ensued, with Pitts ultimately being apprehended about a mile away from the original traffic stop.
Pitts ended up in jail on felony evading charges, and was released on bail after a night in custody. Until we find out the rest of the story, this one looks like a curiosity, an 18-point offense, maybe — something along the lines of Ty Law running from Miami cops for no reason. But stay tuned, there could be more. In the meantime, the Texans might want to think about housing their linemen on-site at Reliant Stadium.
The Young and the arrested
Not a big deal, but Kansas State basketball player Blake Young got himself bagged this past week for — get this — a failure-to-appear rap, resulting from his decision to bail on a court appearance involving a traffic ticket. More important, Young was stopped at 4:45 am (why are these guys always driving at these hours?) when the arresting officer discovered the warrant. Wildcats coach Frank Martin reached into the sports-crime-cliché playbook and declined comment, saying only that he wanted to let the justice system run its course.
Actually, someone should come up with a handbook for coaches of arrested athletes, with a template/list of possible statements to release. For instance, if your player has been caught sodomizing a blind girl in a wheelchair, the proper response would probably be, “This incident does not reflect the John Doe I know, on and off the field.” If he’s been caught sucking laughing gas from a tank and boosting laptops from the school computer lab, it would be, “The faculty at University of Your State strives always to maintain high standards of conduct in its student-athletes and, as such, we are refusing comment until all the facts are gathered.” If he got baked and drove into a tree on the lawn of a state senator, the response would be, “We are obviously disappointed in Johnny’s behavior. We had high hopes that he would contribute to our starting backfield in 2008.”
In that regard, what kind of statement do you release when a former NFL starting quarterback, now playing in one of the arena leagues, gets popped for possession? Dan Newman, owner of the Bossier-Shreveport BattleWings, ought to know — because he released one not long ago, after former Dallas Cowboy bust Quincy Carter was snared for weed . . . again. “I am saddened at the report of Quincy’s arrest,” Newman said. “Our organization carefully created an environment during the 2007 season to give Quincy every opportunity to succeed — not just on the field, but off the field. Because of his NFL past, and the stories surrounding his leaving the NFL, we felt like he deserved the chance, like we all do, to live through our mistakes and bad choices and try again.”