Our starting offensive Right Guard rsJR Alex Bookser, who Pitt was heavily depending on to help steady a rebuilding offensive line, was arrested and charged on Sunday morning with a multitude of criminal actions resulting from being drunk as seen here:

Bookser 2

That is a handful; a DUI is bad enough but the other actions show just what more terrible judgement he used after he got behind the wheel in an impaired state. The video of him being ordered out of the car and then of him on the ground with guns pointed at him is embarrassing for him to have lived through, just as it is hard for his family, friends and fans to watch I’m sure.

But perhaps the worse thing with all this is that he’s not a 1st time offender when it comes to alcohol abuse and getting arrested for it.  He ran that route back in 2015 with these charges below and note that as his birthday was March 2nd, 1996 he was more than two years under the legal age of 21 in that case:

Bookser 1.png

So what do we think needs to and should be done in his case as far as discipline and/or punishment awarded?  Those decisions will be done by the hands of the head football coach Pat Narduzzi, the Pitt Athletic Director Heather Lyke and if needed the Chancellor of the University.

That is if the powers to be feel it should be handled completely outside the regular Student Conduct system run by the Student Affairs council.  BTW – the Code of Conduct addresses alcohol in the housing (Page 18 of this Pub) and not a whole lot more but this next issue – that of personal responsibility and of other students in an emergency situation.

Pitt Code.png

At any rate this is a matter for Bookser, Pitt and the University and the civil actions by any circuit court should have absolutely no bearing on what Pitt decides to do. Pitt and especially the football program have a separate set of rules, regulations and standards than does the state of Pennsylvania and must act accordingly.

Now I don’t know how Bookser likes to take his liquor but he’s a star football player and not a bad-looking guy therefore so he most probably was not by sitting by himself under the third tree to the left on top of Flagstaff Hill with two six-packs of Rolling Rock.  Which begs the question of where were the others who were with him on Saturday night, be it at a bar or a party, and who must have seen he was, if not hammered, then certainly shouldn’t have been driving… as in never should have even got close to a car.

Every kid at Pitt has a cell phone I’m sure – but apparently a bunch of people forgot how to use it on Saturday night.  Let’s not worry about who may be on the road with the drunken kid, he’s a friend right?  Not one person made the effort to ensure that young man didn’t get behind the wheel of a car and that my friends is chickenshit behavior in itself.

Everyone and his brother has ideas about what to do with him as far as the football team.  I spent all morning reading blogs and boards and articles and I found very few people focused on the most important thing in this whole deal – the fact that Alex Bookser has a real and profound drinking problem at age 21 and has already been arrested twice because of it – the second time only two months after this 21st birthday.

Think that behavior stops on its own? Think again – it sure as hell doesn’t.

It truly doesn’t go away by itself so in my opinion that has to be addressed first and foremost and those actions must be the beginning of whatever else may come his way as far as discipline in the football program.

Which means I would require a 28 day rehab program, preferably in-patient and continuing care follow-up with participation in the football program hinging on his staying clean.  That is two years out of his life without booze but it well might be a life saving thing for him and even better it might save others’ lives also.

I’m sure Pitt fans will read this and think that’s way too harsh or an invasion of privacy or some such. Well, he could always be dismissed from the program as this is the second time he has thumbed his nose directly at Pat Narduzzi.  I would think that given the choice Bookser would prefer to get clean and stay that way up into the NFL draft which is where he was most probably headed.

You don’t think the first thing NFL scouts are going to look at in spring of 2019 are his drug & alcohol tests?  Damned right they will and if he’s a marginal draft pick any  testing failures would be a death knell.  The NFL staffs might  bend over backwards for bona fide big-time star players being arrested multiple times but for OLs who aren’t All-Americans… not so much.

So for me it is concentrate directly on the young man’s well-being and have it done with contingencies.

As far as football goes?  Well, Pat Narduzzi should tell Bookser 1) he needs to stop thinking about August’s fall camp right now because he has a ton of hard work to do before then and 2) if he refuses these mandates he can walk out the clubhouse door.  Then if Bookser wants to play badly enough, and some kids do walk away when things get tough, then Pitt can decide on what to do in the other disciplinary awards.

But it should all start with getting him squared away and as healthy as possible in every single way before they worry about him playing in the Penn State game or whenever.

 

 

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54 thoughts on “Bookser and What Happens Next.

  1. Certainly not a garden variety DUI. First thought is the young man needs help. If I had to pick a punishment I’d lean somewhere around 4 games – assuming he enrolls in and completes a program of some kind.

    I hope the administration doesn’t freak out about this. Remember the SI cover in the Wanny days?

    That said, this is serious stuff and can’t be swept under the rug.

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  2. Some good points right there Reed. I do think some sort of in-patient care is a very good idea. Bookser has the rest of his life to live and maybe some NFL money to be had in the process. You would think that’s number one of Bookser’s mind

    Couple things I worry about though. What are, if any, are the underlying problems he may be having. Or is it he’s just young and dumb and/or a bad driver. Is he guilty of repeated offenses because of being overly stupid or is he a kid from Mt Lebanon who has he been overly spoiled?

    I think he has NFL talent down the road, so he’s between a rock and a hard place and he can only blame himself. He needs more than most 28 day rehabilitation centers can give. He needs intensive treatment for his behavior while imbibing alcohol and why is he acting out.

    I’m not a big fan of a general 28 day program. Through experience, I have seen so many failures with this type of program. Hell, they tell them first day they are mostly likely to fail first time around. Again, I worked for a common pleas court Judge and watched parades and parades of probation violators on a monthly basis.

    Why? Once you’re in the system it’s very hard to get out. The restrictions placed on some of the offenders becomes to overbearing and they become trapped in the revolving doors of unfair justice. We all see it all the time.

    Bookser needs intensive treatment with aftercare a must, I just think they need to be careful they don’t set him up for failure but to succeed. He will probably have to wear a monitor and lose his license for a year since it doesn’t sound like he’s eligible for ARD. Send him away for intensive treatment before court hearing and let the courts decide what to do with him. Two years of monitoring is too long, he will surely fail. imo.

    Telling young people what they can’t do is not the right approach. Allowing them to gradually make the right decisions over time may be the better approach. …ike

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hopefully this is a turning point in his life – for the good. The Oline is normally a tight group – I hope his brothers can help him thru this…. He certainly needs help.

    Go Pitt.

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  4. Part of my practice involves treating heroin addicts, so I can opine that a mandatory 28-day in-patient treatment center is relatively useless if he doesn’t want the help. He needs to want to change, and Pitt, his football buddies and his family are essentially powerless unless he takes the first step. This is a monumental challenge for him and, like the rest of you, I sincerely hope he will rise to the occasion.
    Given this is his second offense, I could see the football powers pulling the plug on his upcoming season.

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  5. You are absolutely clueless and have zero insight in a thing that’s going on. i have no clue why you blog. You’re f*ing terrible

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  6. After I get the log out of my own eye will I pass judgement… never been arrested but have and continue to do stupid stuff when I drink myself ” into 10′ tall and bulletproof.” as Travis Tritt would sing.

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  7. As soon as I get this log out of my eye, I will pass judgement. I have never been arrested but have done some stupid stuff and continue to do dumb $hit when I am 10′ tall and bulletproof!
    Alex has to feel as low today as he felt high last night.. if he was driving a pick-up truck to pick up his girl from a train- well that would have the makings of a good country song…

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  8. If they pull the plug on him for the season, don’t you increase the chances of him continuing in the wrong direction???

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  9. ^Yes MM exactly, where does the responsibility start and end? The kid is a kid. What could of, would of and should of, is not the answer. Don’t give him a life sentence for goodness sake.

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  10. So enable the kid and kick the can down the road. Not buying that. Maybe he should act like a man and man up and own it and get help and put football to the side. What we saw was more than a college kid who drank too much. If we want to bitch about Miami and UNC and Louisville, etc. then we need to be better than them and put him first not football.

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  11. He is 21, not a kid. He is old enough to be in the middle east fighting ISIS so let’s not act like he just got off his Mom’s Teet in Mt. Lebanon.

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  12. One game suspension as this will blow over by summer camp. He’ll have to get help and I’m sure Narduzzi will do whatever he can to straighten out Alex. The bigger question is who replaces Bookser at right guard?

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  13. I think Reed has a valid point about who this young man was with on that night. It is unlikely he was drinking alone. First of all, someone with this much status should know better than to act in this fashion. Secondly, where was his support team to keep him from getting behind the wheel where he easily could of snuffed out an innocent persons life?
    Thirdly, he has the responsibility of representing the U. Of Pittsburgh in everything he does. A lot of mistakes were made in this situation. Duzz has some hard decisions to make.

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  14. I trust HCPN has a plan to help Alex get out from under this terrible situation. Drinking and driving is one of the worst things a person can do. You risk not only your own life, but the lives of many other.

    I agree with BigB, we all need to first remove the log from our own eye before passing judgement or suggesting punishment.

    Football is definitely secondary to getting Alex’s life back in order and on the right path.

    For Alex the future could and should be bright, as long as he is willing to learn from this mistake and accept his punishment like a man.

    As for the football side of things – next man up!

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  15. Upitt very good points because this man has to take responsibility for his actions.

    He has to want to change his behavior, this is his second documented issue. What he did was very serious.

    He could have killed someone, a kid, someone’s mom or someone’s dad, fortunately nothing like that happened.

    If you or I did something like this repeatedly would we be suspended from or job or would we be terminated ?

    I’m not persecuting the kid, I just have little tolerance for this type of behavior for personal reasons.

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  16. Many great insights here. I may be wrong, usually am, but Reed did you once indicate that in Coast Guard you work with people with alcohol abuse – it is a much more serious problem than many care to admit because we all believe in second chances but this would be his third. Reed I sent you a copy of the criminal affidavit and it confirms your insights. Also people with such a problem have to want to help themselves period. it is hard to say if he has hit the rock bottom necessary to realize he may have a big problem. Keep in mind that he has two arrests for alcohol, how many went unarrested? Who knows. Had it not been for a University of Pittsburgh police officer he might have gotten away with this – well he did run into a building – yeah a whole freaking building, up over the curb and everything. Long story short it does appear he may have a big problem and that is where the first priority lies. It must start with him though.
    Sarcasm – there were two people in the one car that was struck and he fled from. Again I wish him well but he must recognize he has a problem and deal with it.
    Prayers to your son Reed.

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  17. Kicking the can down the road, I think not. Kicking the kid down the road would be a worse option though.

    Many of us, if not 90% have done stupid stuff growing up. We remember this mostly because our kids remind us.

    21 years old is a kid.

    Give the kid half a break and get him fixed with a future left.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ike – We definitey have but if we were busted once it would be a wake up call. This is his second offense so he is either dumb or an alchoholic. He is only 21 and busted twice. We all make mistakes but had I ever been busted once I would damn sure not drive especially when you run into multiple cars and sidewalks and a building. That would take drinking into oblivion. Get a cab, uber, anything. It is a wonder he didnt kill a poor innocent victim who actually works and pays for college.

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  19. Upitt: we agree on this more than disagree. Throwing Bookser’s life and future opportunities away imo is not the right way to go. Does he need punishment? Yes, along with help and a guiding hand as to not give him a life sentence.

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  20. Hopefully, he realizes how drinking is not always fun. It can take away many things. Football, freedom, his way of life. If he is contrite, then give him a second chance. One game. Some form of public service. Maybe helping drug or alcohol homeless.

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  21. Great comments all….we’ve all done stupid stuff. I haven’t seen this comment yet. “He could be dead”! Easily could have killed himself in a one car accident. The journey he has to take has to start with that statement. I find that when addicts and drunks are faced with THAT reality, it sobers them up quickly. Agreed on the futility of a 28 day program. For some, including Bookser it has to be a ” life” program! It has to be away from Pitt and his buds. Maybe forever. They are all triggers.
    I hope he gets proper guidance. It is a life and death matter!

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  22. So let me get this straight. If I am John Brown, a Pitt undergrad commuter student and I am 21 and get arrested for dui while not on campus, on a weekend or over the summer, what happens operationally at Pitt. My guess is….nothing! Pitt probably doesn’t even know about it.

    At a time when many say that football players should not be given any preferential treatment because of their ability to play a sport, we seem to now want to change. So what is it?

    Pitt coaches should know if bookser has a drinking problem.

    I am oppositional by nature and always have to look at both sides of all issues, regardless of what side I personally believe to be correct. Pay the fine, sign up for ARD (which includes mandatory treatment) and get on with it. I don’t care about video. He obviously got out of the car and wisely hit the deck or he would have gotten shot and this story could very well have a different ending.

    Not concerned over draft status unless he truly has a problem. I drove drunk often when I was 21 and candidly just lucky. Doesn’t mean it’s right, but it also isn’t the end of the world. Give him a game and move on.

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  23. It matters not what his problems are outside of alcohol. It’s a matter of accepting your lot in life. That can take a few years or a lifetime. Sometimes rehab can help with that; other times it can’t. I agree with Reed, though. Rehab is the best course and very well could save his or someone else’s life. I’m speaking from experience.

    #soberpanther

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  24. This conversation is why this is a blog like no other. A bunch of guys from all over the country, most of whom will never meet, posting heartfelt and insightful and caring remarks about a kid they will probably never meet because he’s a Pitt player, he’s our guy, and we care, and that’s a good thing. (Anyone ever read The Joy of Sports? Novak puts it better than I can in that book. )

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  25. give the guy a second chance we all make mistakes. the other player was dismissed #94 jeremiah taleni for no reason disciplinary reason did he get arrested? any crime was committed? give him a second chance too

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  26. Can’t remember clearly but didn’t Alex tweet a stupid comment that was meant to be a joke back when HCPC was recruiting him ….? Does anyone remember the specifics?

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  27. We probably will never know what Taleni did to get kicked off the team. I hope it wasn’t pot, these archaic rules about pot must change, states are making it legal, certainly not harmless, but pales in comparison to societal damage caused by alcohol.

    I grew up in an age where drunk driving was almost acceptable. Really seems stupid now Same with smoking, the vast majority smoked at one time. Education has helped in changing minds and opinions on these matters.

    Drunk driving is not acceptable behavior. Bookser must be helped if he has a drinking problem, but he also has to pay the price for driving drunk.

    The new problem is driving and walking while texting. Pedestrians are getting mowed down while looking at their phones. We are truly dumb animals.

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  28. Scholarship players are a different animalsthan the regular students are at any big university. It cost Pitt $250,000+ per year per scholarship football player to maintain that 85 scholarship roste.

    That’s a lot of money invested in somebody who is thumbing his nose at the rules and creating a poor role model for freshmen and sophomores on the team. That is why the football program and the athletic department have signed documents that say the players themselves will adhere to the higher standards that the athletic director has set in the programs than the general school’s population has set by the administration.

    In answer to the question about the Coast Guard I was a drug and alcohol counselor on 3 different Coast Guard ships for a total of about seven or eight years and I’ve seen just about every kind of alcohol case you can imagine.

    The Coast Guard has very exacting standards when it comes to alcohol incidents. They were much more liberal in the seventies and eighties when I got in then they were in 2011 when I got out. I dealt with these type cases on a one to one basis many times.

    But for the USCG the decision to keep the offender in-service is literally putting other’s lives at risk in the future. We discharged members not so much as punishment but as a safety precaution also.

    Since football is, in essence, only a game then the life-and-death equation is not present and as such the decision about Bookser is one of health for him, punitive actions for him, deterrence for his peers and then financial decisions on the part of the University.

    That is the way Society is changed and that is the difference also between when us guys who are in our fifties and sixties were on campus and the way it is for the kids are on campus now. Society holds people to different standards now than years ago… that’s just the way it is.

    A drunk driver cannot talk his way out of trouble like the old days mainly because 1) it isn’t safe for he or the populace and 2) the police are then responsible if the guy drives again that day.

    If you noticed I didn’t say anything about what his should happen with Bookser during the football season in the article above because I think that is of secondary importance.

    But this is a football blog and as such we need to talk about what we think would be an appropriate decision to impose upon Bookser’s ability and eligibility to play in this season.

    In Blair and Boyd’s cases summertime suspensions were put in place and in Boyd’s case he was also not allowed to attend the first week of fall camp… and then we saw of course that they missed the first game of the season.

    I believe what Bookser has done far exceeds what Blair and Boyd did and showed a truly indifferent attitude toward others’ safety and was as selfish as can be so therefore he has to be made a role model also in addition to whatever else Pitt is going to do.

    Role models come into different shapes and sizes, they are positive and negative and he’s been a negative role model now and in the past and if Pat Narduzzi doesn’t have a problem with that then I have a problem with Pat Narduzzi.

    I do trust Narduzzi though to do the right thing and to suspend Bookser for a section of games or for the season. I will not be shocked if he’s dismissed from the team either as I also don’t believe we know the whole story about what his attitude has been like and what his influences over the other players have been during the time he’s been at Pitt.

    If it’s not been one hundred percent positive between his first and second offenses then maybe that’s another reason to remove him from the scholarship rolls and tell him to get on with his life somewhere else.

    I would do a four to six game suspension or a full dismissal depending on the above info.

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  29. With all due respect, it’s not about Booker it’s about the rest of the kids on the team and future kids who will be in the team. They need to know that there are consequences for such behavior. The criminal justice system, Bookser’s family and Bookser himself are charged with dealing with Bookser. PN’s concern must be first and foremost the other kids. This doesn’t mean that PN should not be concerned with Bookser. He’s just not his #1 priority. 4 to 6 games seems about right but that’s only because DWI is a social problem that much of society doesn’t fully appreciate it’s seriousness.

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  30. Baseball lost to WVU. 22-28 and 10-15 were games against inferior competition. 8-19 in ACC and soon to be swept by Wake Forest and a 8-22 record in ACC and 22-31 overall. Is Heather Lyke home or busy telling everyone how much she believes in Buster Brown Stallings? What happens when you hire a compliance person not a gamechanger. Oh and best part is she is bringing in more EMU people which is basically Cal U.

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  31. First off Blair was clocked driving at 117 mph while high as a kite. Pot is an illegal substance and I don’t have to tell you guys that Mario Andretti driving around Pittsburgh going 117 mph while he is sober is still quite dangerous. I actually see a parallel between these two cases.

    Bookser needs disciplined for his behalf and for the rest of the team to see. The big difference between Bookser and most of the rest of the world is the network surrounding him. He will have a guiding hand available to him if he chooses to accept it.

    I believe that Bookser can show he’s willing to learn and help his case by getting into intensive treatment ASAP. If he can finish treatment and begin an aftercare while doing community service before his hearing, it would go a long ways with the judge and the U of Pittsburgh/Narduzzi’s helping them to see actions instead of words of repent.

    Shutting down his future will…effectively shut him down. If we all are concerned about Booker’s health then we need to take in all accounts of his well being. Maybe he’s not a kid but he’s not a fully matured adult either. What does that make him? We take toys and TV away from children and send grown people to jail. Shouldn’t an adult/kid’s punishment fall somewhere in between?

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  32. Are we starting already this morning Upitt? Blaming Lyke on the baseball failures is going over board even for you. I don’t see what she could have done coming in here recently and blowing up the place without taking the time to evaluate all things. Of course she could circumvent everything and ring you up for advice.

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  33. Upitt

    Does the baseball coach have something on a BOT member? Is this not the 3rd AD he has coached for, never winning. He needs fired immediately.

    I know you have mentioned this before. The Pitt basketball S&C coach has to be questioned.

    For one, the team seemed to have lost bulk last year.
    Secondly, Artis’s bad combine numbers are listed below. Many of which explain his lack of defense. Some of this can be attributed to lack of natural ability but the body fat % is on the coach.

    Body fat percentage: 11.9 (62nd of 64 participating players)…he was the tallest player.

    Strength and agility
    Lane agility time: 11.62 seconds (33rd of 55 participants)
    Shuttle run: 3.08 seconds (26th of 55 participants)
    Three-quarter court sprint: 3.44 seconds (48th of 55 participants)
    Standing vertical leap: 23.5 inches (last among 55 participants)
    Max vertical leap: 31 inches (50th of 55 participants)

    …and he was one of the top players on Pitt. Explains a lot.

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  34. Look at the last 3 years record Ike!! How long does it take to evaluate Jordano on lack of performance in the ACC. Donyou really want to be in the ACC then act like it. What do you suggest she actually do something by 2025???? Stallings Embarrassment, Jordano can’t win. Soccer coach a laugher. Woman’s basketball a joke. Wrestling coach hire was comical. SOP

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  35. Rocket – My friend Tim Beltz was a SC under Dixon. He did a great job. Rockports brought in his own strength coach.

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  36. rkb: An indirect point here. I think you would know what probation revocation days are in the criminal court system. They are like a revolving door with new characters being added every month to the list. Most are set up to fail….. and they do. Often caught up for years for simple 2nd DUI arrest.

    Bookser does have the network to help make sure he gets the work done that’s necessary to satisfy the court system. Too harsh of a punishment (taking a long period of football away) may very well take a lot of the desire for Alex to push through this tough time. Narduzzi must be smart about this.

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  37. Sorry but how in the world can we look at a 21 year old man and say he’s not mature? if he isn’t mature at that age it is 100% due to his own personality – not his age.

    21 years old is a lifetime for those who embrace responsibility at an earlier age then 21 and we have many, many hundreds of thousands young men and women who have done just that.

    Age is no excuse in this at all. Bookser has shown can’t act responsibility in at least two public instances and that is all on his shoulders regardless of if he’s 19, 21 or 60.

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    1. You answered your own question Reed…. because this country decides to throw the young people to war doesn’t make them mature. Once upon a time the military was an option for a person who was facing a lengthy jail sentence. They could join the military to avoid it. The military was a refuge for immature jail bird types. I know you remember that Reed.

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  38. It’s not good to fire a head coach mid-season especially after only being on the job for a month or two. Do you play a lot of video games because sometimes reality whizzes by your head? No offense intended Upitt. You crack me up. Did you get a chance to listen to Matt from Shaler? My linky was stinky…. ike

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  39. Ike – I’m not just talking about the military and those days are long gone. Now the Services reject as many recruit applicants as they accept as the standards are much higher.

    I was also talking about Police, Fire, EMTs, Rescue Squads, Red Cross volunteers. Suicide call service volunteers, etc… many many safety response units and other vital on-site organizations are stocked with young men and women either right out of high school and afterward… many who under the age of 21.

    That ain’t playing a game of football my only true friend – that is a direct and real influence on other’s lives, and their families, which demands clear and quick thinking and the maturity to know what to do, how to do it and how to deal with the consequences if thing go badly.

    As such I can’t get real worked up if a school decides to dismiss a student who put himself and others in danger by stupid-ass decision making.

    I don’t wish any ill toward Alex Bookser at all but behavior like this that gets minimized by authorities is one of the very real problems we have today. Accountability should and can be demanded at whatever age a person is. If you don’t do that you get the guy believing he’s above all else and that is when real problems begin.

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  40. A little off topic but not much. How would like to wright my memoirs? I’m sure it can be a good seller and make a nice mini series. No murders involved though. Just drama out the wazoo. “Looking out the rear-view mirror in the eyes of ike”. Boom! 🙂

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  41. These kids are mellennials. That says it all. Not all, but many are spoiled, had helicopter parents, no responsibility ever and feel they are entitled. Add to the fact that these kids were star athletes in high school and probably got additional special treatment. Not a good history for life lessons.

    Funny story, a kid straight out of college interviewed for an entry level job where I work. Asked if he got a company car. Thought he would start at 60K in the Pittsburgh office. He was interviewing to be an entry level programmer. The expectations are hysterical.

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  42. It was a revelation to learn that this was Bookser’s 2nd arrest involving alcohol. The 1st arrest obviously didn’t leave much of an impression on him since he stepped up the ante by getting behind the wheel of a car while blitzed. Luckly Pitt’s squad has kept it’s collective nose pretty clean as of this Narduzzi era but this one requires more than just a slap on the wrist, if for no other reason than to send a clear message to the current players that such behavior is forbidden! Bookser should be used as an example by the coaching staff. He must not be allowed to sidestep the repercussions of his poor judgement.

    Kicking the kid off the team seems severe to me however and will negatively alter an otherwise promising football career for this young man. He definitely needs a wake up call and probably some extensive professional help to get him to appreciate how alcohol is negatively impacting his life going forward though.

    I see him remaining with the team but look for community service, counseling/DUI driving awareness classes, significant fines, loss of drivers license, criminal probation and of course paying for property damage that he caused all being appropriate before we ever get to what happens concerning his Pitt football life & scholarship.

    Seeing that this is his 2nd arrest, I see a suspension from the team for multiple games, perhaps even for the entire season. Harsh but not the death penalty for his college education or football career.

    Bookser should be thanking the Lord that he didn’t injure anybody or kill himself for that matter! Good morning!!! Fully awake now?!?! One more dumbass misstep and you’re toast young man.

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