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The N&O is now reporting
that Phil Ford was arrested in Michigan, about two years ago for a previous
drunk driving charge, with a blood alcohol content of .26.
Here's where this story stands now:
- Tom Zaliagaris said he had had drinks with Phil Ford in
- If the charges hold up, Ford obviously drank Monday night.
- Ford pleaded guilty to drinking - and driving - two years ago.
- The University, and Dean Smith, knew that Ford had been arrested for drunk
driving, though Dick Baddour says he didn't know of a conviction.
Apparently the Durham offense will count as a second offense, upon
conviction. This means that Ford's license will be lost for four years,
meaning that is ability to go out and recruit is severely limited, since that
almost always involves driving. Ford will almost certainly be removed as
head recruiter for this reason if no other.
In our judgment, the revelation of a
second conviction essentially ends the possibility of Ford becoming a head
coach. In terms of Bad Thngs, drunken driving is somewhere around beating
women: it's just not acceptable (unless you are at the University of Nebraska, a
la Lawrence Phillips).
We have some sympathy for Ford as we would for anyone who has fallen, but he
blew a .26 in Michigan, and allegedly a .24 in Durham. You just can't go
around endangering the public in that manner. The values Dean Smith set in place - loyalty, handling things privately, a sense of family - are in sharp contradiction with the public well-being. It's going to be interesting, and very revealing, to see how UNC handles this most unfortunate situation. In light of what we now know, it's worth asking if Ford was put on medical leave two years ago as well.