By Jim Moore
If you’re Steve Sarkisian, what’s the proper punishment for Austin Seferian-Jenkins?
To this point, the Huskies’ tight end has been suspended indefinitely by Coach Sark after he was arrested on suspicion of DUI near Ravenna Park on March 9.
Toxicology results are pending. Once revealed, a decision will be made on charges in the case.
Sarkisian told Bob Condotta of The Seattle Times and other reporters: “We will make the decisions necessary based on our team rules and our school policies that are fair to him and fair to us, and we will move forward and we will support him …
“I do know Austin is in the right frame of mind, that he is going to learn from this, and he will be better for it in the end.”
After the incident Seferian-Jenkins said: “Coach Sarkisian holds our team to high standards on and off the field, and I fell short of those standards this weekend. I apologize for letting down my family, my team and the entire University of Washington community. I will take full responsibility for my actions and work to use this as a learning experience.”
In a Condotta story, according to the police report, Seferian-Jenkins was found standing outside the vehicle and had the “strong odor of an alcoholic beverage, thick-tongued speech and watery, bloodshot eyes.”
If you’re Sarkisian, does missing the rest of spring football qualify as proper punishment? Or should he miss fall practice and a game or two as well?
I really don’t know what I’d do if I were Coach Sark. Maybe he’ll tread lightly, and Seferian-Jenkins will get a slap on the wrist. But if he’s too lenient, he’ll be roundly criticized.
If he opts for stronger discipline, Seferian-Jenkins could miss the opening game against Boise State. If he really wants to make a statement, he could suspend Seferian-Jenkins for the Boise State game and the Illinois game after the bye week.
But then he’d hear about it from those who think he was too harsh and others who know that Washington’s chances of beating Boise State and Illinois are reduced without Seferian-Jenkins.
Those in the leniency camp will say it’s his first offense, that he’s a good kid, he’s learned his lesson and it won’t happen again.
Those in the other camp won’t tolerate drunken driving no matter the circumstances.
In the past I have occasionally made the mistake of putting myself in the drunken driver’s shoes. I wondered about the consequences for him — jail time, suspended license and costly lawyer fees, fines and insurance costs.
But the victims are the ones I should be thinking about 100 percent of the time.
It’s gut-wrenching to read the story about the man who killed two grandparents while critically injuring a mom and her 10-day-old son in an accident in the Wedgwood neighborhood earlier this week. The man has been convicted twice of drunken driving, has two other DUIs pending and was driving on a suspended license. He had a blood-alcohol level of .22.
Twelve years ago, when Jerramy Stevens crashed into a Seattle nursing home and left the scene, coach Rick Neuheisel suspended the Huskies’ tight end for the first half of Washington’s game against Michigan.
I remember being in disbelief when Neuheisel made the announcement to UW play-by-play announcer Bob Rondeau.
As much as I love Neuheisel, that punishment was far too lenient. If he were making the call on Seferian-Jenkins, I’m guessing he’d allow him to play against Boise State and Illinois and suspend him for the first half of the next game against Idaho State.
Rare are the times that I’ve wished Coach Sark good luck. In fact, it’s so rare it’s never happened. Until now.
Whatever he decides with Seferian-Jenkins, it will be too much or not enough.