Todd Helton worked out with the Colorado Rockies for the first time in spring training on Saturday. It must have been a welcome relief to the Rockies’ first-basemen after his arrest on a DUI charge a couple of weeks ago. In the world of sports today, there’s very little that surprises us anymore but this one did. Helton has been the face of the Rockies for 17 years and his character has never been called into question. The debate now is how does his run in with the law change that?
There are two extremes and as usual the real answer lies somewhere in the middle. Rockies Manager, Walt Weiss offered up a full defense of Helton saying that he has built up enough good will to be given the benefit of the doubt for one mistake. Sportscaster, Drew Sochier or KUSA in Denver took the opposite view. Sochier said that Helton’s great track record has zero impact, a DUI is never forgivable and this tarnishes his image forever.
As stated earlier, the truth lies in between those two extremes. A DUI is never excusable and Helton must be held accountable, both by the legal system and the public. However to say that this one horrific lapse in judgment erases everything he has done for the Rockies and Colorado is not fair either.
In an era of selfish, money grubbing athletes Helton has been loyal to the Rockies. In my view, he has been too loyal to a team that refuses to take the necessary steps to win on a consistent basis. Helton has gone through more plans and rebuilding projects than any player is sports history, and has always maintained his professionalism. No one I know would have held it against him had he demanded a trade to a contender, no player deserves a championship more than Helton. Off the field, Helton has been just as professional. He always has time for the media and understood his role with the fans, especially the kids.
No professional athlete should ever be a role model but Helton fit that profile. The DUI becomes a part of his legacy as a baseball player, but it should not define him. It was a terrible mistake, no doubt about that but not all mistakes are created equally. Helton has demonstrated for 17 years that he is a stand up person who is very loyal to a team, a city and his fans. It’s perfectly okay to be disappointed in Helton but judging him based on his only mistake is just not fair.`
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