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Prosecutors asked for $1 million. The presiding judge insisted on the highest level of electronic monitoring, if/when Ruggs is released. He also is prohibited from consuming alcohol, and he’s not allowed to drive.
Ruggs faces two to 20 years in prison, if convicted. He reportedly was driving his Corvette 156 miles per hour only two seconds before an impact that killed the driver of another car, along with her dog. Ruggs reportedly had a blood-alcohol concentration at twice the legal limit.
It’s a horrible situation. Ruggs may never play football again. If he does, it won’t be for a long while.
What he did is inexcusable. With apps like Uber and Lyft readily available and easy to use, no one should ever get behind the wheel if there’s even the slightest doubt about impairment. And no car should ever be operated at that speed on a public road.
That said, it’s impossible to do justice to the current conversations regarding the mental health of players without showing some degree of compassion to Ruggs. He knows what he did. He knows that he ended a life, ruined a family. He knows that he permanently changed his own life, while also creating major issues in his family.
He will face the consequences for his actions. He deserves to. And others should learn from this terrible situation the importance of not driving drunk.
Still, Ruggs is only 22 years old. He didn’t act deliberately or intentionally. He should serve time behind bars. He has forfeited the privilege to play professional football, perhaps for good. But he’s still a human being who has a long life to live. He should have a chance to make amends for his conduct.
Nothing he does will change what he did, and he surely knows that. Hopefully, he’ll use his experience as the starting point for communicating directly with others who without learning about his situation may end up doing something similar. It won’t bring back the life he took, but in a roundabout way it could help save one or more other lives.