On Monday, the Denver Nuggets officially announced that All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony will miss the first two games of next year’s season. The suspension stems back to his DUI charge late in the previous season, when Melo was pulled over on I-25. In court, Anthony plead guilty to lesser charges of driving while ability impaired and failure to stay in a single lane. He received 24 hours of community service, one year probation,$1,000 in fines, and court fees by the judge.
Anthony has been in trouble with the law in Denver before. Last year, he was caught and charged with possession of marijuana. This time, the DUI came during a controversial run to gain his Nuggets a spot in the playoffs. It seems that Melo was partying and celebrating for the playoffs a bit too early.
When high priced athletes such as Melo get charged with a DUI it makes us wonder why they don’t just call a taxi or even hire private drivers. Their salaries certainly allow them to do such, but for some reason they still do not. Anthony’s recent outburst and run-ins with the law have caused Denver to shop him around a little this off season. However, it looks as if he will remain a Nugget next year, but will start on the bench for the first two games.
The plea agreement makes the general public question the way athletes are punished by our legal system. This is not Carmelo’s first time in court yet his punishment seemed light to many of us. The truth is first time DUI and drug offenses usually get handled like this. As long as Melo does not mess up again within his probationary period of a year or get a second offense for DUI or marijuana charges, his punishments will remain less serious.
Much like the case of Paris Hilton and her DUI, the celebrity status in this situation only attracts more attention to a first offense that is handled pretty much uniformly throughout the criminal justice system. In Hilton’s case, the Judge issued a more serious punishment because she was so famous. Lucky for Melo, this did not occur.