Well, we now know how the Steelers regard defensive lineman Alameda Ta’amu on the sliding scale that applies to athletes who get in trouble.
Ta’amu apparently resides on the “look the other way and/or make excuses” end of the spectrum and not the “make example out of a guy we don’t need” side of the ledger.
“You don’t stand by in the sense of making him feel this is right,” safety Ryan Clark said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “You don’t ‘amen’ this in that it’s OK to do. But you don’t throw him away, you don’t exile him from the team, you don’t stop talking to him, you don’t stop being his friend.
“If you’re family, you don’t do that. When someone in your family makes a mistake, you try your best to work through it with him, not make him go through it by himself.”
Ta’amu has plenty to go through. According to Gerry Dulac of the Post-Gazette, the rookie fourth-rounder faces felony counts of fleeing police and aggravated assault while driving drunk, three additional felony counts of aggravated assault for nearly running down police officers with his vehicle, and 10 misdemeanors, including resisting arrest and attempting escape. In 2009, Ta’amu was charged with DUI while a 19-year-old athlete at the University of Washington.
Per Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Ta’amu addressed the team 0n Monday and apologized for his actions. “I talked to him, and he was remorseful,” nose tackle Casey Hampton said. “He feels really bad about it. He knows what happened was a bad thing. He made a mistake, and that’s the way I look at it, not taking away what he did because it was a terrible thing. We have to ride with him and see what happens.”
If Ta’amu were an undrafted free agent or a veteran hanging around at the bottom of the roster, the Steelers wouldn’t be riding with him. Instead, Ta’amu would be riding right out of town.