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"Like Bulldogs on Saturday Night": A Defense of Blake Barnes and Tripp Chandler

If you didn't want to vote for me after my First Treatise of Government . . . and Football, and if you didn't want to vote for me after my Second Treatise of Government . . . and Football, you'll definitely want to vote for me after what follows, so, by all means, vote for me!

In the wake of the recent arrests of Blake Barnes and Tripp Chandler, Paul Westerdawg has risen to the defense of the Bulldogs' third-string quarterback, opining (with ellipses in the original):

We'll probably do more on this later, but let me just say this. Without giving a full blown "vouch"....the word out of Athens....if you ranked all 85 scholarship football players at Georgia, Blake Barnes would come in around 80th to 85th of kids least likely to get arrested for anything.

Westerdawg went on to note that Athens-Clarke County policemen prize open container arrests as highly as "jaywalking tickets and shaking down orpahs orphans" . . . although what the less faithful of Naomi's two daughters-in-law has to do with it, I have no idea. Even Nathan acknowledges that this is bogus.

Reportedly, the details are these:

Athens-Clarke County police arrested Chandler and Barnes after the two were spotted walking on a sidewalk near 2077 South Lumpkin Street at 3:15 a.m. Both were seen carrying open bottles of Budweiser beer, according to the incident report. Barnes, 21, was charged with furnishing alcohol to minors and an open container violation. Chandler, 20, was charged with underage possession of alcohol and having an open container. . . .

According to the incident report, an officer smelled a strong odor of alcohol from Chandler, who admitted drinking "4 or 5 beers." After Barnes was placed in the police car, he was asked where the beer came from and told police it was from his home, that he gave it to Chandler and he knew Chandler was under 21.

As I informed everyone when defending Ian Smith, I am not a criminal defense attorney and you get what you pay for when it comes to free legal advice. However, here's a bit of useful information you may want to remember if you're ever in that situation: the Bill of Rights contains an article conveniently situated between the Fourth and Sixth Amendments. If you can remember what that provision says, articles about your arrest will read as follows:
After Barnes was placed in the police car, he was asked where the beer came from and told police that he was proud to be a citizen of the United States of America, whose Founding Fathers had the wisdom and forethought to forbid the government from compelling any person in a criminal case to be a witness against himself.

As I indicated earlier, I am annoyed with every aspect of this situation: I am annoyed by the asininity of the Athens open container ordinance and the patent absurdity of a law that asserts that a legal adult who can exercise the franchise, marry without parental consent, and be compelled to serve in the military against his will needs to wait three years before acquiring the maturity to drink a beer; I am annoyed by the draconian selectivity with which this ordinance and this law were enforced in this situation; I am annoyed with two football players who should have known better putting themselves in this sort of situation in the first place.

Having said that, I have to say that Paul Westerdawg's assessment of Barnes as a good kid seems to be supported by the reports of his arrest. The same appears to hold true of Chandler, as well.

Chandler reportedly admitted to drinking "4 or 5 beers." This makes Chandler the first person in the history of drunken interactions with the police to come clean on the actual number of drinks he had downed. Every even halfway legitimate D.U.I. stop since the invention of the automobile has contained the following exchange:

Officer: Sir, have you been drinking this evening?
Driver: Just a couple of beers.

Just last week, an attorney of my acquaintance who practices in the criminal law area informed me that, in Mexico, it is a social convention to count the first beer and the last beer, but not the beers in between. Consequently, any Mexican immigrant who is arrested on an alcohol-related charge and testifies under oath that he had "two beers" when he knows he actually drank five or six beers is being honest within the accepted boundaries of his culture.

So how drunk was the Georgia tight end? Evidently, neither he nor his teammate were drunk enough to be charged with public drunkenness. The incident report stated that the officer detected "a strong odor of alcohol from Chandler," but the next report filed by a police officer regarding any incident occurring at 3:15 a.m. that doesn't state that he detected "a strong odor of alcohol" will be the first one.

Let's look at this scientifically. Chandler is listed at 6'6" and 259 pounds. He was picked up at 3:15 in the morning and he reportedly admitted to drinking four or five beers.

Blood alcohol content is calculated according to the following formula:

  1. Count your drinks (1 drink equals 1 ounce of 100-proof liquor, one five ounce glass of table wine or one 12-ounce bottle of regular beer).
  2. Use the chart below and under number of "drinks" and opposite "body weight" find the percent of blood alcohol listed.
  3. Subtract from this number the percent of alcohol "burned up" during the time elapsed since your first drink. This figure is .015% per hour.

If a 240-pound man drinks five 12-ounce bottles of beer, he will have a blood alcohol content of .078. Since July 1, 2001, the prohibited level for adults has been .08.

Blood alcohol content drops by .015 per hour during the time elapsed following a person's first drink. Assuming Chandler began drinking at midnight---which, if anything, probably represents a late start---he had gone three hours since his first drink, meaning his blood alcohol content had dropped .045 from his high water (er, beer) mark of .078.

That puts him at a blood alcohol content of .033 . . . and even that is assuming that Chandler weighs almost 20 fewer pounds than his listed weight.

Late last Saturday night, when an overzealous cop decided he was more interested in making headlines than in exercising reasonable judgment, Tripp Chandler wasn't drunk. Tripp Chandler probably had a blood alcohol level approximately equivalent to what mine would be after one beer . . . and he wasn't behind, or about to get behind, the wheel of a car. (Had he been driving, the fact that he is under 21 years of age might have caused him to be over the per se legal limit of .02 for minors.)

Late last Saturday night, Tripp Chandler was a grown man six months shy of his 21st birthday and one beer beyond being stone cold sober who was walking down a street with a Budweiser bottle in his hand.

This brings us to Blake Barnes, whom Paul Westerdawg describes as the Bulldog least likely to get into trouble with the law . . . but who evidently spilled his guts, reportedly saying that the beer "was from his home, that he gave it to Chandler and he knew Chandler was under 21."

Although I jokingly mocked that confession before, that sounds like a rising upperclassman in a leadership position who, having just seen one of his teammates suspended for a season for the underage consumption of alcohol, was trying to protect his pal by taking responsibility for his younger teammate's behavior.

What Blake Barnes did on Saturday night didn't deserve to get him booked at the Clarke County jail; what Blake Barnes did on Saturday night ought to get him a helmet sticker. Blake Barnes confessed to a crime with which he otherwise would not have been charged in a misguided yet admirable effort to protect Tripp Chandler.

Blake Barnes's mug shot ought to be on the back of next year's edition of the football T-shirts that say "TEAM" in large letters and "ME" in small letters underneath it, because that's the spirit he embodied last weekend.

Barnes and Chandler knew the risk they were running and they must pay the consequences mandated by the toughest anti-alcohol rules in the Southeastern Conference, but, while they exercised questionable judgment by stepping out onto Lumpkin Street at 3:00 on Sunday morning, they displayed honor, honesty, and integrity when confronted with a disproportionate reaction that did not fit their crime.

Blake, Tripp, I hope y'all do your drinking indoors next time . . . but, as you watch the Oklahoma State game from the sidelines, know that your supporters realize and respect the extent to which you behaved like Bulldogs on Saturday night.

The law and its enforcement officers are treating these two student-athletes as though they were children. In their response to facing the consequences of their actions, though, Blake Barnes and Tripp Chandler acted like what they are: men.

Go 'Dawgs!