Shonn Greene and the Handicap Parking Space

Sometimes athletes go out of their way to mess up their careers and nearly all of the time, they mess up their careers by what they do off the field. It is why I teach about choices and consequences and good ethics.

Do you know anyone who has a physical ailment that is so bad that they have to use a handicap parking space? I do – and I also know they would give anything not to have to use it. Virtually everyone who has ever got behind the wheel knows that it is illegal to park in one of those spaces. It is ironic that the guy who decided to park illegally in such a space, is a professional athlete in incredible shape.

Shonn GreeneShonn Greene, running back for the Tennessee Titans has so far this season rushed for nearly 200 yards. He is in the second year of a $10 million contract and by all accounts, he was on his way to having a record year.

According to writer Jim Wyatt for USA TODAY (October 25, 2014) in an article entitled: “Titans’ Shonn Greene arrested on multiple charges:”

“The incident began when Greene parked in a handicap parking space on the square in Franklin, located roughly 20 miles south of Nashville. When a parking enforcement officer approached Greene, police say he got in his car and maneuvered to get around the parking enforcement officer’s vehicle.”

Nashville Police Sergeant Charles Warner of the Franklin Police Department stated:

“The entire situation could have been avoided if he would have left that handicap space for who is was intended for, The fact that he didn’t and got caught being parked there, he could have stopped things from going any further than a parking ticket if he would have simply communicated with the parking enforcement officer and not taken such evasive measures to get away from her.”

Arrest Warrants

To his credit, or the credit of the team lawyer, when Greene would learn there were arrest warrants out for him and he turned himself into the authorities. As the Nashville Police Department made clear, the entire matter could have been avoided.

Even if he had accepted the ticket, it would have been OK. Considering he is making more than $3 million annually, he could have paid the ticket with pocket change. Instead he wanted to prove he was cool, and so he evaded the parking enforcement officer, scraped the enforcement officer’s vehicle and drove off.

The arrest cost him a game’s suspension, thousands of dollars in salary, embarrassment, a police record, fines and who-knows-what? I can’t answer the “who-knows-what” in any detail. Maybe he was in line for an endorsement deal or maybe another team had an interest in him for next season. Suppose those potential deals go away because no one needs the headache? If nothing else, his fans, coaches, teammates and team ownership were let down and you know, that is lousy enough.

No big deal, you say? We don’t know that. If he was willing to flaunt a stupid ethical decision in this case, what other poor choices is he making off the field?

Ultimately, the person Shonn Greene is most likely to hurt will be Shonn Greene. Sports Ethics training, one on one or in groups is conducted so that he doesn’t hurt himself with poor choices. However, an athlete needs to be willing to learn how everything he or she does matters; without a good sense of ethics, the athlete will never win.


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