The Damon Evans SEC Playbook: How Not to be Arrested
In the long past days of the guillotine, it was a big deal to accept your fate with courage and stoicism and have a "good death." Because then, of course, in the moment that you were still alive once your head was chopped off -- yes, your head continues to live for a few seconds -- you could stare out over the live gathering with pride. You didn't go down like a coward, clinging to the arms of your executioner, soiling yourself, wailing, crying uncontrollably.
Now we don't chop off heads, but it seems as if all of our sports figures eventually get arrested.
And, let's be clear, there's a right way and a wrong way to get arrested.
Georgia athletic director Damon Evans chose the wrong way. He cried more than Marie Antoinette did at the chopping block. But that wasn't all Evans did wrong. In fact, while his arrest is unfortunate for anyone not named Mark Richt, it's also instructive. Everyone can learn from him what not to do when you're being arrested.
So let's dive in for a summer course in the etiquette of arrest. (Urban Meyer already has his entire team enrolled so Florida players can skip this lesson).
It's rare that athletic directors string together a series of such awful decisions that they can be instructive to others. Usually athletic directors are judged on two primary issues: their hiring decisions and their ability to raise money from donors. That's why the implosion of Evans is so unique. Since SEC athletes are always being arrested for a variety of reasons, I thought we should use Evans' arrest as a teachable moment. After all, nothing says, "I'm a proper Southern gentleman," like being arrested with class.
First, as a preliminary, don't drive drunk. And, by the way, if you drink regularly, how about forgoing the offer to make an announcement about not drinking and driving? Evans' plea for Bulldog fans not to drink and drive had to be watched a million times after his arrest.
I don't have a study to confirm this, but I firmly believe making a public service announcement encouraging people not to drink and drive has to increase your odds of being arrested for drinking and driving by 1,000 percent.
Without further ado, let's hit the tape and see what Evans' implosion can teach us.
1. Take a cab.
You're Damon Evans, you're 40 years old, the youngest athletic director in the SEC and in mere hours you're about to commence a $550,000-a-year contract.
Is there much to gain by hopping behind the wheel if you have the least bit of doubt about how sober you are?
Now, people in big cities on the East Coast are always like, "Take a cab, you jerk," whenever someone gets a DUI.
That's because those cities are, generally speaking, laid out in a grid that preexisted cars.
That is, it isn't 138 miles from one point in the city to another.
So it's an easy argument to make because distances are short and cabs are readily available.
But do you know how much money it costs to take a cab from one side of Atlanta to the other?
You could buy all of Ghana for the amount of money that costs.
It's so expensive to take cabs in Atlanta that even millionaires risk a DUI arrest instead of taking cabs. That was Evans' first mistake.
2. Stay clothed in the car.
I know, sometimes it seems like cars were invented solely so people could have sex in them.
But resist that urge.
Especially when you're drunk and you're married to another woman.
What's more, don't keep a woman's panties in your possession for any longer than it takes to remove them. This is really hard to explain otherwise. Who are these men who keep the panties? It's not like the panties are some great jewel. They cost $12 at Victoria's Secret.
Don't hold on to them or you'll end up sounding like an idiot explaining why you have them.
Witness, Evans's explanation of the panties: "She took them off and I held them because I was just trying to get her home."
This explanation alone proves Evans was drunk. That actually sounded good to him.
Now, you might be asking, has any man ever successfully explained away women's panties that weren't his wife's?
Yes, but just one man.
Remember in "Curb Your Enthusiasm" when Larry took the blame for Jeff's affair by claiming that he wore panties?
There was a clear road map for Evans if he chose to take it.
"I'm Damon Evans and I like to wear women's panties."
3. Remember that you're on the record with the officer.
The police report always kills people in these situations.
Keep your mouth shut except when you are responding to questions.
Would Evans have spoken this freely with a reporter for a story?
So why speak this freely with an officer for a report that is going to eventually be public? Especially when the details are so damning. It was the police report, more than anything, that led to his firing. Witness ESPN's Mark Schlabach quoting of an anonymous source inside the university: "On Thursday night, I thought he would survive this. But after reading the police report, I didn't think he would be able to overcome it."
Don't say a damn thing other than a response to a question from the police officer.
4. Tell the woman who isn't your wife to keep absolutely quiet.
As soon as the blue lights came on, Evans should have turned to the other woman and said, "If you say a word during this arrest, I'm going to give your number to Quincy Carter."
Even after all of the stupid things he'd done to this point, if the girl in the car doesn't also get arrested then Evans probably keeps his job.
He gets a DUI, makes his public statement of contrition and hopefully never drives drunk again.
In other words, it wasn't the DUI that got him in trouble, it was the DUI with the woman who wasn't his wife in the car.
5. Saying, "I'm not trying to bribe you, but," is a bribe.
Let this be a lesson to you, any time you begin a sentence with, "I'm not trying to bribe you, but ..." you are, in fact, trying to bribe someone.
And it's not going to look good.
Everyone knows what you're doing.
This is even more true when you're in a position where a bribe could help you out.
6. Don't ask a cop who is arresting you for a DUI to take you to a motel.
He's not your pimp.
Evans said, "I don't want to use who I am, but I would just ask that you take me to a motel."
Also, wouldn't you have to have found yourself in a situation like this before to even suggest that the cop take you to a motel and let you sleep it off?
This has gotten overlooked.
But put yourself in his shoes, do you even have the audacity to ask the cop to drive you somewhere else and keep you out of trouble?
You wouldn't either.
In fact, the only way you'd even think to make this suggestion was if you'd gotten preferential treatment from a cop sometime in the past and you were trying to make it happen again.
7. Don't rationalize your behavior.
That's going to be your lawyer's job.
Saying, "We all go through life and we all drink and jump in a car," as Evans reportedly said, is not helping you.
8. Do not cry.
And if you do cry, do not make your tears "uncontrollable."
Save your tears for things that really matter, like after your team gets waxed yet again at the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
At least there's one shining light from the arrest: those defeats aren't your problem anymore.
Who knew that Russ, the stand-in for Uga VIII, would outlast the athletic director? Or that Russ would probably behave better than Evans if he was arrested.
For shame, Bulldogs, for shame.
Even King Louis XVI thinks you're a bunch of pansies.
Hopefully the next time one of your sports figures is arrested, they'll follow this instructive guide and comport themselves like gentlemen.