Monday, October 11, 2010

A whole other kind of stupid

So Charlie Davies was not, in fact, at the wheel while driving 125 mph.
Davies, who nearly died in a car crash last year, told The Associated Press Saturday that Jacques Faty, a teammate at French club Sochaux, asked him to switch places and tell police he was driving because Faty thought his license was still suspended from a previous speeding infraction. Faty said he thought police would only fine Davies, but Faty feared he would be jailed.
"That's not possible for me to go 120 mph on the road after an accident and think everything will be fine," Davies said. "If a kid survives such a serious accident and then almost exactly a year later is driving at a reckless speed, it's like, 'This can't be serious.' ... If someone has a second chance like I do, to take advantage of something like that, it's not something I could do. I learned too much from the whole experience to let something like that happen."
Putting aside the assertion that a 24-year-old is still a kid, which in itself is laughable, I suppose it could be considered progress that Davies says he won't put himself in that kind of situation.

However, his actions continue to belie those words.

Sochaux players were given four days off after beating Lens 3-0 last Saturday, and Davies said he decided to fly back to Boston, where he played in college.
Davies said he doesn't drive in France and, knowing that Faty was going back to Paris, he asked if he could get a ride.
Davies said he was lying down in the passenger seat of the Audi Q7 as they drove.
"Everything seemed fine. I knew he was driving a little fast but didn't know he was driving as fast as he was," Davies said. "Then I saw a blue flash from a police car."
Speed and time are relative, of course (thanks, Albert!), and I can see how one might lose track of one's speed while zooming down the highway in, say, a high-performance BMW or Ferrari. The Audi Q7, though, is a full-size, luxury crossover SUV -- not exactly the stuff of Autobahn and mid-life crisis dreams. Even if the difference in G forces was negligible and Davies was reclined so far back he couldn't see the trees whizzing past, I find it extremely difficult to believe he was completely unaware of his surroundings.

The notion that Davies couldn't do anything to stop Faty -- put forward in the latest American Soccer Show podcast -- is bunk. Are we to believe that Davies asking Faty to ease off the gas a bit would somehow have damaged their relationship, personally or professionally? It's safe to assume Faty is aware of what happened to Davies a year ago and -- unless he's a truly heartless bastard -- would acquiesce if asked. Also, the suggestion that Davies would've been stranded if Faty took the blame doesn't wash. We know Davies has a driver's license as part of his punishment was having it suspended for six months. Even if he prefers not to drive in France, I imagine he retained enough muscle memory from his time in the US to at least navigate back to Montbeliard.

The person who comes off looking the worst, of course, is Faty. Blasting through the forests of eastern France at 125 mph is questionable enough, as is driving with a license he thought was suspended, even if it ultimately wasn't. One can assume he had enough traffic incidents, either in number or severity, in the past to lose his privileges. Near the end of the story, it says the police "ran Faty's record and told him his license was no longer suspended." (Emphasis mine -- ed.) Asking Davies, of all people, to take the fall was just the icing on the cake.

Score another round for the Bad Idea Bears. Fortunately, no one got hurt and Faty has said he will take responsibility -- better late than never, right? I just hope incidents like these are the exception and not the rule with Davies. He's come too far with his recovery to jeopardize his life and career over a bit of highway hijinks, whether through his choices or someone else's. Davies is 24, which is plenty old enough to know looking after one's well-being takes precedence over "being a good bro."

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