In light of the DWI bust this weekend of St. Louis Rams defensive end Leonard Little, attorney Scott Rosenblum said, “Leonard is not a drinker. He’s never been a drinker. It’s just not in his character.”
Does he really expect us to believe that? This is the same Leonard Little who, on his 24th birthday in 1998, partied with some friends, then got into his Lincoln Navigator and drove drunk, right through a red light and into Susan Gutweiler’s car, killing her. If Rosenblum is to be believed, and Little isn’t a drinker, then he’s got to be the unluckiest guy in the world, because on the only two occasions in which he happened to drink and drive, he got in trouble.
That earlier conviction came back to haunt him today, when Little was charged with felony drunk driving as a persistent offender under a law passed in 2001 that makes a drunk driving offense a felony if a person has a prior history of involuntary manslaughter. If he’s convicted, he’s looking at up to four years in prison. Many of us feel that sentence should have been imposed the first time, not the second. We, as a society, have to get past “he was drunk” as an excuse.
Another Rosenblum whopper: “Not a day has gone by that Leonard hasn’t thought about Susan Gutweiler.” C’mon. My dad died in 1997. I loved him very much and we were very close, but I can honestly say that there are some days when I don’t think of him at all. In the 2,000 or so days that have passed since the Little-Gutweiler collision, are we to believe that he has thought of her every single day — even game days? Very doubtful.
Little is a very talented football player, but let’s not hold him up as a paragon of virtue. If he were, and was always thinking of Mrs. Gutweiler, he wouldn’t have gotten into his vehicle late Friday night with a buzz on. If he were smart, he would’ve kept the phone number of a limo company in his wallet or his cell phone, and used it at a time like this. And what about whoever he was with that night, letting him get behind the wheel? Male or female, they weren’t doing him any favors.
By being so irresponsible, Little has put the Rams in a quandary. Sure, they want him on that defensive line, taking down quarterbacks and sniffing out the run. But this is a public relations problem they don’t need. They gave him a second chance after the 1998 incident, and he blew it. If this weekend’s allegations prove true, many people have told me they’ll have a hard time watching him in a Rams uniform this fall.
Of course, things could have been worse. Leonard could have called a friend for help and gotten a lift home from Billy Joel.