- The Washington Times - Friday, June 6, 2008

Andray Blatche probably did not realize that all 58 states of Barack Obama’s America require motorists to have a driver’s license.

That sensible requirement becomes especially important if you are traveling 86 mph in a 70-mph zone, as Blatche was cited on Interstate 85 in southern Virginia.

Let’s not forget that Blatche is only 21 years old, and 21 is the new 10 in our culture.

By that measure, Blatche is incredibly young and just needs time to mature. He also needs time to learn that a suspended license means not being allowed to drive a vehicle.

Alas, Blatche has a history of learning things the hard way.

He showed a capacity to take a bullet to the body in his rookie season in a car jacking gone bad, which involved Peter John Ramos, possibly the best 7-foot-3, 3-point shooter in the world.

Last offseason Blatche wandered over to Thomas Circle in Northwest and fell for the oldest trick in the undercover officer playbook, which was, “Would you like a date?”

It was love at first sight. The pulling out of the handcuffs came next.

Now Blatche is following a more traditional script.

As you know, running afoul of the law on the highways is one of the rites of passage with professional athletes.

The others are having at least four children by four women, failing to meet the monthly alimony payments and hanging out with a posse at a strip joint, whereupon someone in the posse makes it “rain” with one-dollar bills and the strippers go absolutely bonkers.

Yet nothing provokes fear in the law enforcement community like a professional athlete sitting behind the steering wheel of a moving vehicle.

No good ever comes out of a professional athlete in a moving vehicle.

Or a van, as was the case with Nate Newton, the former offensive lineman with the Cowboys.

Unfortunately for Newton, the van happened to be carrying 213 pounds of marijuana, which is slightly against the law.

Examples of professional athletes gone wild behind the steering wheel of an automobile could fill a tome.

Randy Moss spent a night in jail in 2002 after a traffic agent motioned to him not to make an illegal turn in downtown Minneapolis, and Moss decided the best way to resolve the matter would be to nudge the traffic agent a half-block with his 2002 Lexus.

Only a professional athlete could come up with a creative conflict-resolution measure like that one.

Blatche is almost a saint compared to a few of the franchise’s past greats on the highways.

Chris Webber was once charged with three misdemeanor and six traffic offenses in Prince George’s County in 1998.

Webber compounded his predicament by resisting arrest, being in possession of marijuana and not having a driver’s license.

It took two police officers and lots of pepper spray to subdue Webber, who was a mere 24 years old then.

Sloppy driving habits were a hallmark of the franchise in those days, as was Webber going into a celebratory frenzy after dunking the ball in the first quarter to put the team up 9-7.

At some point, the players should have employed personal chauffeurs and considered it a cost-effective move, given their legal expenses.

Rod Strickland was busted for disorderly conduct and driving under the influence after making an illegal U-turn in the District in 1997.

Strickland was a young 31 years old at the time but at least was quick-witted enough to ask the officer, “Do you know who I am?”

The officer apparently was supposed to feel this thrill going up his leg, to borrow from Chris Matthews, who brings lots of cheeks to the talk-show business.

Juwan Howard was charged with driving while intoxicated in 1996.

Blatche has a way to go before he enters the hallowed company of Webber, Strickland and Howard.

But give him credit.

He is working on it.

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