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.