NBA referee Mark Wunderlich just showed amazing restraint in helping to come to the aid of a former family friend that has been found guilty of breaking into Wunderlich's house.
Imagine befriending a friend of your family for years, sending him all sorts of ducats and autographs that could at best cost you credibility amongst your co-workers and at worst cost you your job, only to see that particular friend betray your trust as an adult by choosing your house amongst thousands to break into and steal from.
Now, you can watch this guy get what your anger tells you he deserves. Or you can help to aid in the sort of recovery that your brain tells you he needs -- by keeping him out of a state prison cell.
A year after the break-in, 21-year old John Jardine pleaded guilty to using an automatic garage door opener (lock those cars at night, friends) to help his accomplice break into Wunderlich's house, stealing cash, credit cards, a Satellite Navigation unit, and a laptop. Jardine is addicted to heroin, which no doubt played some part in his role in this and another burglary he participated with his partner in crime.
Though he wasn't the person who actually went into the house to swipe the goods, Jardine was still facing 15 months in a state prison, not exactly the best rehab center for those who are struggling with a problem -- in some of these state prisons, the access to narcotics is even easier. This is where Wunderlich stepped in, working with the District Attorney and the presiding Judge to send Jardine to a County prison for at least 15 months.
"He was very specific," Wheatcraft told Common Pleas Court Judge Anthony Sarcione in proposing the plea agreement she had worked out with Jardine's attorney, Robert J. Donatoni, of West Chester. "After all this, he still likes the defendant. He did not think he would make it in state prison."
Jokes about being able to hack it in a state prison don't always have to come down to beating someone up on your first day in the clink to be thought of as a bad dude. Heroin withdrawal and recovery is no joke, and Wunderlich likely knows that a County jail is the best chance Jardine has at getting over these issues at a relatively early age.
And for Wunderlich to overcome his obvious anger (the DA quotes him as being "offended" at Jardine's actions) and do what was right for this young man that has gone all wrong says just about everything you need to know about Mark Wunderlich, the person.
Now, let's get this lockout over with so that we can go back to calling Wunderlich and the rest of his ilk a bunch of bums.