I held my tongue during the whole Josh Hancock thing. At first it was tragic and there was nothing I could say that hadn't been said already. Then the word came out that he was drunk, not wearing his seat belt, on his cell phone, and possibly high. I held my tongue again because it was too soon to mention that although tragic, you tempt fate when you get in a car so drunk.
Now, the pitcher's father is suing the restaurant for overserving his son alcohol, the tow truck company of the truck he hit, and the car that the tow was attending too. Once again, I will reiterate that any death is tragic and I understand that Josh's father, Dean, is grieving over his son. But others shouldn't have to pay because Josh Hancock made a stupid fatal mistake.
Restaurants are legally obligated to cut off customers and even call them a cab when they can't think they can drive. "Appears drunk" is often a judgemental call and it's probably even tougher to tell a local major league baseball player he's had enough. Nonetheless, when someone is twice the legal limit, it should be easy enough to tell and you shouldn't let him drive. Though the restaurant isn't fully at fault -- that would be the guy who was actually driving drunk -- they had a duty that they possible shirked. So this part of the lawsuit is valid.
But the tow truck that Hancock crashed into and the owner of the car being towed? This seems ridiculous to me. You're hit by a guy drunk and on a cell phone and you're expected to pay up? And the guy who's car was being towed? Why should these people pay for someone's mistake? Dean Hancock is suing the guy in the car because the driver shouldn't have gone too far where he'd stall on an interstate and should have gotten his car over. I'm sorry, but I've been in situations where cars just stall. On the George Washington Bridge (in all fairness, this turned out to be one hell of a night - Tom).
Josh should have been more responsible and because of that, he lost his life. Yes, there could have been someone at that restaurant that should have stopped him, but when it comes down to it, he's the one who got into the car and drove.
Dean Hancock would be better off using his son's tragic death as a tool to try to deter others from making the same mistake instead of blindly pointing fingers at others. As I said, Hancock probably should have been cut off -- I have to clarify before people jump down my throat on this -- but in the end, the largest responsibility should fall on the person driving.
In general, few take responsibility for their actions in the world of sports. Floyd Landis blames everyone for failing his urine test -- and his friends personally harass those testifying against them. How many baseball players "unknowingly" took steroids? As public figures, and even more importantly, role models, athletes should own up to their mistakes instead of passing the blame. In the case of Dean Hancock, more is involved than just trying to avoid blame. There's grief and anger involved, and trying to sort through an extremely difficult time. But a poor guy who's car was getting towed shouldn't have to take the blame for someone else's bad judgment.
The world of sports is supposed to be something sacred according to some, though I don't fully agree. Hopefully, those involved in sports will start showing accountability across the board to set examples for those watching, especially kids. Then, maybe sports will actually be something sacred.