Detroit Pistons starting forward Greg Monroe now joins Ray Rice, Tony Stewart and P.J. Tucker as high-profile athletes in the limelight for the wrong reasons.
Monroe was arrested and processed for Driving Under Intoxication by Huntington Woods police on Feb. 13. He was charged just before the All-Star break and told police at the time of his arrest that his intoxication was due to two glasses of wine he had at Bosco, a Ferndale bar.
“I’ve always been short. Now I feel really short,” an officer frisking Monroe said during the incident.
During his arrest, Monroe reportedly blew a .09, which is .01 above the legal limit in Michigan. He later tested .1 by the time he got to the police station, which was approximately 1.5 hours from the time he was originally stopped.
“I’m just trying not to be in the newspaper,” Monroe said while the police escorted him away from the scene.
“Unless you told people that are going to tell people, we don’t tell people,” an officer responded.
Although he was released, it seems he is not completely out of the picture just yet.
Last week, the Detroit Pistons officially announced that Monroe will take a two-game suspension for his actions, but news about Monroe’s arrest and suspension have started to swim across the Internet.
Primarily, the story has some flaws. According to most blood alcohol content calculators, two average-sized glasses of wine would not have kept the 250 pound Monroe from becoming increasingly drunker in the holding cell over an hour and a half after consumption. Granted, there are many other factors at play when calculating sobriety than weight alone, there is probably more to this story than a seemingly innocent miscalculation of tolerance.
PJ Tucker’s drunk driving case is similar to Monroe’s, and ended in relatively swift and public suspension. Tucker, who blew a .222 during his arrest, received a three-day suspension for his actions.
Like the Rice security camera footage, the recent uncovering of Monroe’s arrest is troubling due to the elapsed time between the event and the suspensions.
Monroe pleaded guilty to impaired driving in April. The NBA did not announce Monroe’s suspension until earlier this week. Whereas Tucker’s drunk driving case ended in a relatively swift and public suspension, Monroe’s woes have been kept secret.
About seven months passed between the original incident and its leak to the public.
Monroe’s two-day suspension seems reasonable. What remains to be seen, however, is how long the Pistons organization and the NBA knew about Monroe’s arrest, whether or not they actively hid it, and why the long delay between the arrest and announcement happened.
Why the cover-up though? The NBA and the Pistons organization could have easily come forward within a couple months with a sentence as they did with Tucker.
Though the Pistons’ postseason chances looked shaky but alright at the All-Star break, only a few weeks into John Loyer’s takeover, the organization could tell it was destined for another bottom eight finish.
Losing Monroe for a short suspension during the latter half of last season would have strategically been much better for the Pistons than waiting until now.
Last season, losing on purpose increased the team’s chance of keeping their first-round draft pick. This early into the season though, tanking is unacceptable and missing one of the big three men from the lineup for the opening two games could be costly for morale.
As for Monroe’s hopes to stay out of the papers, him and the organization had to have known that it would leak at some point.
The question still matters, if this was all just a simple mistake, why not out it sooner rather than later?
Going into the summer, the big news about Monroe was whether or not he would re-sign with the Pistons. Although almost weekly a new team such as the Pacers were rumored to be interested in the power forward.
Clearly nothing fruitful came of this. Perhaps this hidden arrest was part of the reason why Monroe could not get the offers he hoped for.
The NFL is currently under fire for delaying harsh punishment for Rice after the initial leak of footage from an Atlantic City casino that displayed Rice next to his unconscious fiancee.
Supposedly, the police had secured the security footage from inside the elevator which showed Rice actually hitting his fiancee months before the NFL and media got hold of it.
Reasonable suspicion suggests that someone in either the NFL or Baltimore Ravens administration knew about the tape. Although both deny such allegations.
In this case, even the appearance of a cover-up has led to many more woes for both Rice and the league.
Until further details emerge, things look pretty good for the Pistons franchise. With one year left, a practically brand new coaching staff and a revamped front office, the team hoped to flip the switch on its recent bad luck.
Although the Monroe news definitely sets back some progress, as he will not be present for the team’s opening game against the Denver Nuggets this fall, the team is not entirely out of luck in case things sour on Monroe’s case. Unlike Tucker and the Suns, Monroe only signed a one-year minimum qualifying offer with the Pistons, opting to delay free agency until after the 2014-15 season. This means if any further developments go south with Monroe, the Pistons do not miss out on much.
As for Monroe, two games may not seem like much, but, then again, Rice may have thought the same thing. Not because driving while slightly over the legal limit is as bad as domestic violence or that the NBA would force Monroe out the way the NFL did to Rice, but because more information, a cover-up and any other new development can change the nature of a closed situation at a moment’s notice.
Colin Jackson is the co-host of Horsepower for Impact Sports.