Todd Helton struggled to decide whether he would retire from baseball or return to the Colorado Rockies for the final year on his contract. In the end, Helton decided he would come back to take the farewell tour in what would be his 16th season as the Rockies first baseman.
Now, that may not be in his best interest, or more to the point, it may not be in the best interest of his ball club. Not after Helton was pulled over and arrested for drunken driving and careless driving on Wednesday morning. Helton admitted his wrong doing in a statement that was released through the team, and he asked that everyone accept his apology and find a way to forgive him.
That is all well and good, and given the guy’s pearly-white track record, this was surely an isolated incident and does not properly reflect the character of the man who has been the face of the Colorado Rockies for the last 15 years. Helton has been a terrific player, with the numbers and the All-Star appearances to prove it. He has never been in trouble before, and he probably wouldn’t make the same mistake again. He could be shown leniency, and all of this could be forgotten by opening day.
The problem is, it should not be forgotten, and a guy who has the responsibility of being the face of the franchise should not be let off the hook when they make a mistake of this magnitude.
When are these athletes going to get it through their heads that drunk driving is wrong? It has only been 60 days since the drunk driving accident that took the life of Jerry Brown Jr of the Dallas Cowboys. The danger is real. People die because of drunk drivers, and professional athletes should have gotten the message by now.
It would be a shame to see Todd Helton leave the game in such a way, but he is coming off of a season ending hip surgery. This would be 16th season and he struggled to make the choice to come back again in the first place. He should take this as an opportunity to rethink his decision to come back.
Maybe retiring now would be a better option for Helton and his family. Maybe his retirement would be a better option for the Colorado Rockies.