What Should Happen to Owen Schmitt?

As most of you are aware by now, Owen Schmitt was recently arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Black Diamond, Washington. His blood-alcohol content was measured at .151 and .161, twice the legal limit in Washington State.

What a knucklehead.

At twice the legal limit, Schmitt should’ve known better than to get behind the wheel. An obvious demonstration of poor judgment; it is fortunate that no one was hurt or even killed. Schmitt will obviously be subject to discipline from the NFL, but a suspension is not likely since it is a first offense.

This is the second time this offseason that a Seattle player has been arrested. Last January, linebacker Leroy Hill was arrested on drug charges after police found him asleep in his car at an intersection. Although Hill was not charged with driving under the influence, one can only imagine the reason he was asleep behind the wheel. He was charged with a misdemeanor after police allegedly found marijuana in his car.

In a similar scenario to Schmitt’s, linebacker Lofa Tatupu was arrested last offseason on driving under the influence charges, with blood-alcohol content measured to be between .155 and .158.

Both Hill and Tatupu have remained on the Seahawks roster without further incident. In fact, Leroy Hill was “rewarded” a large contract by Seattle despite the offseason arrest. Both were first time offenders, and neither player received a suspension from the NFL.

So what happens to Schmitt?

Owen Schmitt, a former fifth-round draft choice from West Virginia, is supposed to compete for the starting fullback spot this coming season. He has shown a lot of potential and a strong work ethic while on the field, and his hard-nosed style of play is perfect for a bruising NFL fullback.

That being said, the Seattle Seahawks are an organization that is committed to character, and holds players to the highest standard on and off the field. Fortunately for Schmitt (and fans who enjoy him in a Seahawks uniform), this is his first offense and the first real blemish on his résumé. So because of that, I think that Owen Schmitt should be given a chance at redemption – assuming he is sincerely remorseful for his poor conduct.

I suppose that is a part of the problem, however. As fans, we don’t really know if Schmitt is remorseful. Sure, he issued a statement claiming regret; the same carbon copy that we see from every athlete who ends up in the same scenario:

“I sincerely apologize to the team, the NFL, the fans and my family and friends for my actions and poor judgment. I fully understand the seriousness of this matter, and I am disappointed in myself. I am committed to earning back the trust of everyone affected.”

Honest? To be determined. Owen Schmitt will definitely have to prove himself to everyone. But for now, I’ll trust in the organization to make the right choice.

This is all in the wake of Donté Stallworth’s enormous mistake, where his actions resulted in the death of Mario Reyes. Schmitt, fortunately, did not kill anyone. We can’t persecute him based on “what ifs” because that wouldn’t be just. I think everyone involved understands the severity of the situation and how dangerous drunk driving can be.

It is extremely fortunate that Owen Schmitt isn’t going on trial for manslaughter. But it wouldn’t be reasonable to equate Schmitt’s error to Stallworth’s – although the result could have been similar, it wasn’t. Let Schmitt count his blessings and learn from his mistakes, and we’ll hope he isn’t stupid enough to do anything like that again.

You know, stupid … like driving while drunk.

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Tags: Black Diamond Blood-alcohol Content Donte Stallworth Drunk Driving DUI Fullback Justin Griffith LeRoy Hill Lofa Tatupu Manslaughter Mario Reyes NFL Owen Schmitt Seattle Seahawks Suspension Tim Ruskell West Virginia

  • Tim

    A slap on the wrist. It sucks, but if the Seahawks organization is going to give Tautupu, and Bernard, and Hill no real punishment then the same should happen to Schmitt. It would be a shame if they used him to make an example just because he isn’t as piviotal to our team. If you want to make an example you show the team by making a stiff punishment on one of the impact players. Then that says “this won’t be tollarated.”

  • tony

    whatever lets win nfc title then move onto superbowl!

  • Jerred

    I am just curious why you think Stallworth´s behavior is worse than Schmitts? Do you punish these guys based off of the behavior they CHOSE to do, or the by chance outcomes of that behavior. Why should there be a difference in punishment when the only difference is luck?

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  • Screech

    Drop Owen Schmitt. Since his DUI he’s been spotted 2 different places with a no-name band out of WV drunk. After Myrtle Beach Bike Week and a DUI, he’s an embarrassment. GO back to WV where those dumb ass hillbillys care about you.

  • http://www.12thmanrising.com Shaun Dolence

    I’m not defending Schmitt’s actions; I was hoping to make that clear. He definitely made a stupid mistake, and I hope he learns from it.

    As far as declaring his behavior better or equal to Stallworth’s, I understand that he is lucky that his poor decision making didn’t result in manslaughter charges, but it isn’t fair to punish the two equally. His behavior was similar, but he isn’t being charged with manslaughter.

    I’m a proponent of second chances, although the person must be remorseful and a first-time offender. Both seem to be the case with Schmitt. It is hard to defend such bone-headed behavior, and I’ll leave the punishment to the organization and the NFL. Outside of the legal consequences, I trust that they’ll appropriately punish Schmitt for his behavior.

    I don’t think “dropping” Schmitt would be the fair move. He is not an embarrassment to the organization, yet. Give him an opportunity to learn from his mistakes and be grateful that no one was killed or injured. So far as I know, Schmitt has not had any issues off the field, and I don’t have a problem giving a guy the opportunity to come back and redeem himself. If the problems continue, then for sure cut him loose.

    As stated in an earlier comment, it would be quite hypocritical to cut Schmitt as punishment. It would be sending a message that Schmitt’s type of behavior is unacceptable, unless you’re an all-pro athlete – then it is okay. With the Tatupu and Hill incidents not resulting in much in terms of punishment, Schmitt’s should not be handled any different. Give the guy a chance to redeem his character.

    At the very least, the timing for Schmitt’s incident couldn’t be any worse.

  • wvufan5689

    For Screech – What did Owen Schmitt ever do to you? And how do YOU know what he’s doing when he visits West Virginia – are you hounding him? You obviously have a lot of pent-up aggression. Whatever your reason for hating Owen is no excuse for trashing the whole state of West Virginia and the proud people who live here. YES, we DO care about Owen Schmitt, we are NOT hillbillies, and we also care about the Seahawks since Owen has become a part of their team. We believe Owen will do the right thing and that he deserves a chance to earn back the trust of teammates and fans. If he doesn’t, then you can heave your insults my way, but leave the rest of West Virginia off your list of people to stereotype and badmouth!

  • Volitile54GC

    There is no reason for Schmitt to receive a substantial suspension, Let alone be dropped by the team. This is his first offense and while it was a bad decision, the only person that he affected was himself. Punishing someone for what “could have happened” is ridiculous. That’s like saying that people who are caught speeding should be suspended for a year because “they could have killed someone”. The bottom line is, it was his first offense, he has already apologized, and I doubt that it will happen again. If it does then that’s a different story. But for now, let the guy take his punishment BY THE LAW and let him get back to HELPING THE TEAM WIN FOOTBALL GAMES! Quit judging a guy that you don’t know, and have yet to see what he’s fully capable of on the field because you have some axe to grind. Everyone makes mistakes, and Schmitt should not be made an example of for his first one.

  • WVUFAN76

    Screech, since when is it a crime to be drunk? So what if he’s been spotted drunk after the DUI. As long as he’s not behind the wheel of an automobile, it’s none of your business what he does. He doesn’t have to live up to your boyscout standards. He’s a young, talented bone crusher that can make the plays (see Fiesta Bowl).

    And as for your comments about the people of West Virginia, why don’t you come to the Mountain State and pay us “dumb hibillies” a visit. We’d love to discuss your views on our backwards civilization and school you on your erroneous views, hoss.

  • http://landryhat davedallasfan

    take his drivers licence away for a year, buy him some beer and tell him to drink at home where the rest of us have to. then while he’s not driving for a year, make him do some community service work with young drivers on the dangers of driving under the influence. then after his year is over, make him take a drivers course, test him, and give him back his licence at high risk insurance just like they do with the rest of us dumbasses that do this. he did’nt do anything worse than any of us may or may not have……..so what you want to take him out behind a shed and shoot him?????????come on. he’s a kid with alot of time and money on his hands. they tend to do this kind of stuff. what the hell does anybody think when they give out millions to kids without enough brains to put change in a gumball machine. this shit will happen. you just deal with it like anyone else, and stop being so damned surprised when it does.