By now we’ve all heard about former Indianapolis Colts pass rusher, and current pass rush consultant, Robert Mathis’ arrest in the early morning hours on Tuesday. Similar, I think, to his situation with the PED suspension when he stated that he tested positive due to using a fertility drug, most Colts’ fans are torn about how they felt when they heard the news.
As far as the particulars go with this situation, Mathis blew a .052 on the BAC test (.08 is the state’s threshold for sobriety), stated that he had two shots of Crown Royal, had taken a sleeping aid earlier in the night, and was forced to lean against his SUV — presumably to remain upright — and didn’t know where he was at. There’s a bit more, but that’s the gist of it.
From what Mathis told the LEOs, and what they reported it appears that the mixture of the two substances very likely led to his confused state at the time and that he ingested what he said he did.
It’s hard for me to comprehend that Mathis wouldn’t understand that the combination of the two would likely impair his driving. He’s 36 years old and has presumably had enough interactions with alcohol in his adult life, and most have been schooled on combining alcohol with pain pills, sleep aids et cetera.
Being behind the wheel in this state is a scary thought, but I think it’s also reasonable to assume that maybe Mathis figured if he hadn’t drank much there wouldn’t have been much of an adverse affect from the combination. All we can do is speculate, however, what’s also speculation — at the moment — is how this situation may, or may not affect his employment with the Colts.
As a player, you have the NFLPA to collectively bargain the penalties for such incidents and how you will be penalized for them. Additionally, Mathis was almost always one of the best of the best on the team and had he had this incident while on the roster, he wouldn’t be in jeopardy of being kicked to the curb.
Now, however, you can argue that as a virtual part of the coaching staff that — in terms of job vulnerability — Mathis is on his own, should be held to a higher standard as an authority figure and could reasonably be in trouble with the team.
The Colts have a long history, especially in the past 6 years or so, of players — mostly bottom of the roster guys — getting into trouble with the law. Avis Roper (Colts head of PR) did issue a statement from the team:
“We are aware of the incident involving Robert Mathis last night. We are in the process of gathering more information and have no further comment at this time.”
Personally, this just seems like questionable decision-making that resulted in an unintended state of mind. It certainly isn’t a character flaw, and the Colts have known Mathis for his entire professional life. They know who he is. They know that he’s not someone who should be suspected of ‘re-offending’ for a lack of better word.
My guess is that Mathis will either be suspended for a few weeks, or face a hefty fine. In spite of being that veteran presence post-retirement, and being an important sign of maturity for the youngsters on the roster, Mathis will still be who he is to those looking up to him as well as those signing his paychecks.
I understand the argument that this could have led to some very tragic circumstances, and I agree with that notion — someone could have been badly hurt. However, I don’t feel as though an entire career, on and off of the field, of nearly flawless leadership and maturity shouldn’t be negated with one questionable decision. Mathis’ job shouldn’t be at risk.