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:
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:
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.
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.