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Lynch, Seahawks season could be affected by DUI charge

Ted S. Warren
AP Photo

Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch's latest brush with the law could keep him from playing in some games next season. He plans to plead not guilty to a DUI charge that resulted from an arrest in his hometown of Oakland, Calif., over the weekend.

KPLU sports commentator Art Thiel says a new NFL crackdown on misbehavior could lead to a suspension - even before the matter is resolved in court.

Lynch lawyer questions test results

Lynch was formally charged Wednesday with driving under the influence. His arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 14, where his attorney says he will plead not guilty. Attorney Ivan Golde told the Associated Press that he feels the case could get thrown out or reduced because of discrepancies in blood-alcohol tests.

Despite that, Art says the situation does not reflect well on Lynch.

"He's innocent until proven guilty. But, the problem was it was 3:30 in the morning and he was weaving his vehicle, according to the police report. And he was just putting himself in harm's way."

Why should fans care?

Lynch has a history of run-ins with the law. He was arrested in 2009 on a weapons charge that was reduced to a misdemeanor, and served a three-game suspension. In 2008, Lynch was investigated for his involvement in a hit and run accident that occurred in Buffalo. His driver's license was suspended.

On top of that, Art says Lynch has a lot of people counting on him right now.

"In March he signed a new contract with the Seahawks: a four-year extension worth $31 million - $18 million of which is guaranteed. And, they built the offense around him. The Seahawks are going to be a power rushing team. Marshawn Lynch made the Pro Bowl last year with 1,200 yards gained. Very impressive player. He's only 26. He's still in the prime of his career. And Marshawn is putting a lot of what he has gained in jeopardy. That's the kind of risky behavior that really annoys a lot of sports fans. The fact is, the pro sports career is only four years long - on average. And for this period of time, the NFL asks for a higher standard of behavior than the average person."

NFL crackdown could sideline Lynch

Art says the latest collective bargaining gives NFL commissioner Roger Goddell wide latitude to suspend players who are arrested, before their cases play out in court.

"And so Goddell has these sweeping powers to punish before there's any court decision. He could say 'Marshawn, you shouldn't have done that and, with your history, no way am I going to accept this behavior. I am going to suspend you' for one game, or two games or six games or whatever. And that is a direct blow to the Seahawks who were counting on Marshawn Lynch as the highest-profile, best-paid driver of this team. And, instead, he was a driver when he shouldn't have been on a freeway in Oakland."

You can find Art Thiel's work at Sportspress Northwest.

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.
Art Thiel is a co-founder and writer for the rising sports website Sportspress Northwest. In 2003 Thiel wrote the definitive book about the Seattle Mariners, “Out of Left Field,” which became a regional bestseller. In 2009, along with Steve Rudman and KJR 950 afternoon host Mike Gastineau, Thiel authored “The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists,” a cross between and Mad Magazine that has become mandatory reading for any sports fan who has an indoor bathroom.