From Zagsblog comes the news today that Seton Hall junior guard Keon Lawrence will be reinstated to the team within the next week, in time for the Pirates’ game against Long Island next Saturday. This news comes twelve days after Lawrence’s November 9th arrest for driving the wrong way on the Garden State Parkway and causing a two-car accident. At that time, he was charged with DWI and driving with a suspended license. No blood test was performed at the scene, but two sets of blood tests — one done at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and another done later by the New Jersey State Police — revealed Lawrence’s blood-alcohol level to be below the legal limit of 0.08, despite initial reports of the contrary.
Let’s get the most important aspect of this out of the way, first: we think it’s a miracle and we’re incredibly happy that nobody was seriously injured in this thing. Someone obviously could have been killed, and thank God that didn’t happen. But that’s the point. When this happened, there was evidently ample reason to charge Lawrence with DWI and take him to the hospital to draw blood, and for coach Bobby Gonzalez to issue an immediate and indefinite suspension to Lawrence (admittedly, he had enough reason to suspend Lawrence just with the suspended license charge). So we know alcohol was involved. We don’t know anything about Lawrence’s constitution or his liver’s ability to process alcohol, but maybe he’s the kind of guy who’s blottoed at some level below the arbitrary 0.08. That’s speculation on our part, but it barely matters. What really matters is that Lawrence knew how many things he was doing wrong when he got in that car that night, which was also a mere four nights before playing his first game for SHU after transferring from Missouri and sitting out a whole year. We don’t know Lawrence personally, and he might be a great kid. But this was one bad decision after another, and someone, including Lawrence himself, could have paid the ultimate price.
That in mind, doesn’t three early-season games sound a little light as far as a suspension? We’re all for second chances, here, and we pride ourselves in not being one of those sites that just goes out and finds reasons to pick on 18-to-22 year-old kids so we can pass judgment and appear clever. But…decisions that break various laws and that could kill you or others = three games?
We’ll say this — if Lawrence has learned his lessons regarding this whole issue, that’s great. That’s what matters in the end, that people learn from their mistakes and change their behavior accordingly. That’s the object of any punishment. We hope he learns to take full advantage of all the opportunities he’s been awarded. But reinstating Lawrence after a mere three games after an incident like this makes it look like the Seton Hall program didn’t take this whole thing very seriously at all.