COMMENTARY | Just cut him. Send Drake Britton packing. Send a message to the team that this type of behavior won't be tolerated. Send a message to Red Sox Nation that you truly are trying to change the character of the team.
Britton was arrested Saturday night in Fort Myers for driving under the influence, reckless driving, and property damage. He was reportedly driving as fast as 111 mph … drunk. On Sunday, he was optioned to Double-A Portland for the remainder of the spring.
The 23-year-old had been in his first major-league camp this season. Britton had thrown 3.1 innings, with an 8.10 ERA and a WHIP of 2.70. He finished last season in Portland, and was expected to be there at the start of this season.
However, he shouldn't even make it back to his hotel room without a pink slip. The DUI epidemic is bad enough without it further poisoning our favorite pastimes. Not a month seems to go by without another story of a sports figure (or public figure in general) getting pulled over for drinking and driving.
Earlier this year, the sports world was stunned by the consequences of another drunk driving incident. Dallas Cowboy Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter when the car he was driving was involved in an accident that resulted in the death of his teammate and close friend, Jerry Brown. Brent was allegedly driving as fast as 134 mph.
Baseball had its own tragedy just three years ago when Los Angeles Angels' starter Nick Adenhart was involved in a hit and run with a drunk driver. Although the dunk walked away, Adenhart and two others weren't as fortunate and lost their lives. Adenhart was just 22 years old.
Fortunately for Britton, nobody was hurt during his joy ride. However, that certainly doesn't make it any less serious. No drunk driver expects to get caught, or even worse to cause an accident. However, as everyone knows, accidents involving inebriated drivers occur much too frequently.
This isn't something new for the Red Sox. Just last season Bobby Jenks was arrested for DUI and hit and run during Spring Training. He issued an apology to his team after the incident and was released later in the season. Jenks is no longer in Major League Baseball.
Was Jenks released due to the arrest? Probably not, considering he wasn't cut for some time after the incident. However, it's hard not to believe that it may be indirectly related to why he hasn't been able to catch on with a club.
If the Red Sox are serious about cleaning up their image on and off the field, there's an obvious move for them to make. Who cares about Britton's potential as a prospect? Who cares what kind of fallout there may be? Who cares if a player or two in the system is irked by the decision? Send a clear and complete message to everyone out there that this type of behavior won't be tolerated.
While the number of alcohol-related accidents is decreasing, it's still a problem. In America, approximately 27 people die every day as a result of drunk driving accidents. The epidemic will never die without proper action from those who have the power.
Britton may be a great guy who simply made a big mistake. That's fine. However, the Red Sox should let him have another chance … with a different team.
Chris Sedenka is a Yahoo! Contributor in Sports covering the Boston Red Sox. You can listen to his daily radio show on 96.3FM in Portland, ME or at thebigjab.com. He is also the voice of the Maine Red Claws of the NBA D-League.
You can follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisSedenka.
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