- The Washington Times - Friday, September 27, 2002

Randy Moss is the recovering ex-teammate of Jason Williams who takes it one arrest at a time.

You can take away his freedom, but you can't take away his dignity.

Not that you would want to try.

There is no telling how he would respond.

He might punch you in the face. He might squirt you with a water bottle. Or he might hop into his Lexus and try to push you out of his life.

Moss is possibly a victim of the system. He is young, wealthy and plays in the NFL, if being employed with the Vikings still counts as the NFL.

"You'll hear my side later," Moss said after leaving jail. "I was treated bad."

His jailers must have asked for his thumbprint instead of his autograph.

If the no-turn sign is not lit, you must acquit.

This concludes the legal analysis of this space.

Nothing serious ever happens to professional athletes who make a wrong turn in the game of life anyway. They win over most judges by showing up to the courtroom at the appointed hour.

Moss is charged with having an interesting conflict-resolution encounter with a traffic officer in downtown Minneapolis. It seems Moss wanted to make an illegal turn, which prompted an objection from the traffic officer.

Traffic officers are like that. They are sticklers around the rules, no question about it, and they rarely care if you are in a hurry or hail from Rand, W.Va., or play on a team that has an 0-3 record. Tell your sob story to the judge if you like. Here's your ticket. Have a nice day.

Moss apparently was not inclined to let it go at that. He is conditioned to take it to another level, as it is said in the business, and it was his idea to communicate his displeasure to Amy Zaccardi, the traffic officer, by inching his vehicle forward.

The woman was armed with a whistle, a radio and a determined spirit to apprehend the moving vehicle, as a human ornament on the hood.

It was a classic mismatch: the Moss-steered Lexus vs. a 27-year-old woman who was not wearing a seatbelt.

Give the woman credit. She gave it the good old college try, as Moss did at a number of colleges. The reluctant passenger clung to the vehicle as long as she could, the destination unknown, until she fell on her face and Moss pulled the vehicle to a stop.

Predictably enough, the disturbing scene was called "surreal" by one witness.

It seems as if there is a lot of "surreal" stuff going on out there, dating back to the low-speed freeway chase involving O.J.'s white Ford Bronco. Even the recent pepper-spray incident at the place formerly known as Raljon was "surreal."

Anyway, except for the fact that Moss was treated poorly by his jailers, it all worked out in the end.

The woman was not injured in the joyride, and Moss is not expected to experience any lasting trauma from the unfortunate event.

You can't stop Moss. You can't even hope to contain him.

Moss is a survivor, after all, going back to his high school days, when he was the teammate of the point guard who now performs stupid basketball tricks in Memphis, Tenn.

Moss has been cleared to play against the Seahawks Sunday night, a must-win game of the highest order for both the Vikings and Seahawks, if ever there was one.

Moss has apologized to his teammates, and to be fair, his jailers and the city of Minneapolis should apologize to him.

No one should hand Moss the key to the city, just the key to his jail cell the next time he is involved in a small misunderstanding, "surreal" or not.

They don't call Moss a big-play guy for nothing.

He presents all kinds of matchup problems, and not just when he has a woman on the hood of his car.

The poor guy. It can't be easy being a $75 million clown.


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