October 6, 2012; Eugene, OR, USA; Washington Huskies tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (88) warms up before the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Huskies Football: Appropriate Punishment for Seferian-Jenkins

Oct 13, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (88) catches a pass during the second half against the USC Trojans at CenturyLink Field. Southern California defeated Washington 24-14. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Monday afternoon, Washington Huskies tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins released a statement saying he was “deeply sorry” for driving drunk on March 9 and wanted to “apologize to the entire University of Washington family for not living up to my expectations.”

With this came the news that Seferian-Jenkins pleaded guilty to his DUI charge and will serve one day in jail. Earlier in the trial process, he had pleaded not guilty.

The official legal punishment for the All-American is 364 days in jail, but 363 were suspended until if Seferian-Jenkins violates his five-year probation. He was also given a $695 fine.

But what about his punishment within the football program? Jesse Kennemer gave his thoughts on the matter shortly after the situation was first reported. Now we know more details of the case and that Seferian-Jenkins will not fight the charge, should the punishment be harder or softer? Does Kasen Williams’ incident in Chelan County over Memorial Day affect it?

If you ask me, it should be what Jesse suggested: one game, the season-opener versus Boise State. Surely, he’ll get the message after missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime grand opening of new Husky Stadium. It will be sent loud and clear when a freshman wide receiver or backup tight end is relied upon late in a close game.

Sarkisian cannot go easy on Seferian-Jenkins. The only way he will is if he thinks (or knows) his job is on the line this season. In that case, suspending his star tight end may cost him a crucial win. The season’s over and Sark’s gone. He doesn’t care about the respect he gets from his team because he’s no longer coaching them. Or say Seferian-Jenkins plays and the Huskies win. It may end up saving Sarkisian’s job if the team sits on the eight-to-nine win threshold.

None of those scenarios should happen, though. Sarkisian knows he needs to be able to control his team and suspending his All-American tight end for driving drunk is the perfect opportunity. He may even feel the need to crack down harder after Williams was also fined $695 for an alcohol-related offense.

With all this taken into account, Sarkisian should reinstate ASJ to the football team for Fall Practice and suspend him for the Boise State game, while not participating in the pregame festivities, either.

Whether he knows it now or not, the message will be pounded home by the time the game is over. If the Broncos come in and spoil the grand opening, he’ll know he let his team down by not being eligible to play. If the Huskies are able to overcome the loss of arguably their best offensive weapon against a top-30 team, then Seferian-Jenkins will feel the disappointment of not being able to celebrate the victory with his teammates and take in the grand opening festivities.

Show the team who’s in charge and suspend your star tight end for risking the safety of himself and others the night of March 9th. Don’t allow the University of Washington to come off soft, just because he’s a star.

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins Football Washington Huskies

  • Jim Davis

    Webeck you are so wrong I won’t even try to convince you otherwise. The kid has been punished enough. Back off.

    • Kim Murphy

      Jim, please go ahead and try to convince everyone else.

      • Matthew

        DUI laws are insanely harsh in Washington State… He is going to have to keep his nose clean for at least two years or else he could go to jail for the remainder of his sentence. It’s not like he is off scott-free

        • Kim Murphy

          Mathew, “insanely harsh”?? Do you read the news section of the paper, with the streak of fatalities this year in repeat drunk drivers who kill people while they are waiting for previous DUI to get to court, one a few hundred yards from Husky Stadium this spring… “insanely harsh” compared to where, Montana? Try telling the families of those who are killed by drunk drivers how “insanely harsh” the laws are. Try it in Europe, where in most countries, he would already be in jail. If you drink, you don’t drive! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drunk_driving_law_by_country

          • Matthew

            Thank you for your passionate response.

            I would like to point out that we are in America, not Europe, and by American standards, Washington State has very tough DUI laws.

            It is true that when persons who are awaiting trial for their first DUI they should somehow be prevented from committing the same crime. I believe that Washington State is enacting new laws aimed at achieving this goal. But regardless of the law, some people will do what they want regardless of safeguards put in place by society. I view making the choice to drive drunk as a morally wrong choice, and if we have learned anything form the War on Drugs, we have learned that you cannot regulate morality.

            Austin Sefarian-Jenkins does not seem to be one of these individuals who chooses to spurn society’s rules. He has voluntarily chosen to walk rather than drive after committing his DUI offense. *Tip of the hat to ASJ*

            I appreciate your passion surrounding this topic. It is tragic whenever a drunk driver takes the life of an innocent or themselves because of their selfish decision to drive while impaired. We are a nation of laws and our legal system is constantly evolving to deal with important issues such as how to stop people from drunk driving. Sadly there will never be 100% compliance, but because states such as Washington are enacting tough new legislation aimed at making drunk driving a severely undesirable offense to incur, we can hope that in the future there will be far fewer DUI related fatalities.

  • Matthew

    As a Husky fan I cringe to think that ASJ wont play against the Broncos. Do you all think a first half suspension would be a sufficient punishment?

    • Evan Webeck

      I could see that, definitely.