01 February, 2008

Drink-Driving is no Laughing Matter

Ok now I know footballers in general are not blessed with the greatest of intellect, nor, so the public British perception goes, are the Scottish, but even for a Scottish footballer this story is pretty special.

Derby County defender Bob Malcolm was found asleep in his car at 6:30 am on December 27th, straddling the middle and outside lanes of the M1 thinking it was the hard shoulder! After the Range Rover was nearly hit by an oncoming vehicle, he was woken up by another passing motorist and persuaded that it was perhaps a better idea to park off the road in the designated area, and not in fact in the middle of the motorway. Understandably this guy then called the Filth, who arrived quickly with breathalyser in hand, to find that Malcolm was twice over the legal limit for alcohol.

The player, who was on loan at QPR at the time, blamed the one man who is always to blame in football-related crime; the ref, of course. Apparently in the Boxing Day clash with Plymouth, from which Malcolm was driving home, official Steve Bratt’s handling of the game had made him so angry that he had no choice but to drink his bodyweight in whiskey. Speaking to the fans’ forum about the incident, Malcolm had these words:

“I want to apologise to all the supporters and in particular the young fans. I recognise that footballers are role models and that, as such, they should set a positive example. On this occasion, I have failed to do that. But I must say that I was very upset and frustrated with the poor performance of the referee in our match at Plymouth the evening before.”

He also bizarrely stressed that he was not actually driving when the police breathalysed him, but then exactly how did he get halfway up the M1 in a car by himself? He actually seems to suggest that 60 miles from home he just Hulk-ed out, so decided the best thing to do was simply screech to a halt straddling two motorway lanes, get hammered, and then just fall asleep where he was. They really don’t help themselves do they?

Anyway, yesterday Malcolm was back in court to be sentenced, however there was a mysterious problem with the police station alcohol testing equipment the morning he was first taken in, so Malcolm’s story is that he was just “overtaken by tiredness” and decided to stop the car for a quick snooze. Despite prosecutors assertions that his actions were clearly not those of a “sober individual,” lack of evidence meant that to all intents and purposes, no alcohol went anywhere near him in the preceding night out. He was ultimately fined £750, banned from driving for 20 months and agreed to take a drink-drivers' rehabilitation course, which will presumably reduce his ban by five months if he completes the course successfully.

Another day, another footballer gets away something your average joe would probably see jail-time for. Ho hum.