The Toronto Raptors keep finding ways to win despite injuries and not really playing at a high level at times. This team will more than likely end up having the best record in team history and already is the first Raptors team to have a .500 or better road record. Yesterday another hurdle or distraction came about with the early morning DUI arrest of Jonas Valanciunas.
While this team will build a case for being considered the best Raptors team of all time I remain unconvinced that they are that. They are for me the most over-achieving Raptors team of all time without question. They have some how managed to keep this train on the tracks despite facing all kinds of adversity in the last few weeks. It has been pretty remarkable to say the least. Getting wins over Houston and Indiana without Kyle Lowry was to say the least unexpected.
This Raptors team seems to rise and fall to the level of competition that they face on a given night. They struggled just as hard to beat the worst team in the NBA the Milwaukee Bucks as they did the Pacers or Rockets. I am not all that confident in where this team can go once the playoffs arrive but they should be able to maintain their position with the schedule they have remaining. That said I expect them to make that more challenging than it should be.
The Raptors while losing Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson for the last few games have welcome back Patrick Patterson who has made an impact. Still for the Raptors to have a serious chance in the post-season they need to be healthy to have any chance.
The Raptors announced that Jonas will indeed play despite his legal issues which should surprise no one. It should disappoint you though, but with all that is going on for this team in terms of winning likely won’t most. The Raptors will no doubt stick to the standard of everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Which is technically true but the moral message that one of your players is driving around while under the influence is something that should not be taken lightly.
Issuing statements of disappointment and the fact they take these matters seriously is all well and good. However the matter of drinking and driving is a serious one and unfortunately one that sports in general as I said yesterday in talking with Lawyer Tina Kaye is not taken serious enough.
This is the time when that sports being a business stuff I am not all that cool with. The Raptors at the end of the day want to win basketball games and by not playing a healthy player that has an impact on them winning and losing they aren't going to do that. An organization that in bad times has preached about integrity and players being good representatives in the community at the end of the day is about winning. It is no shock really and the Raptors are not unique to any other sports team in what they have done.
Still it is not being over dramatic to say that anytime anyone gets behind the wheel of a car and is under the influence of alcohol they are risking their own life any passengers they have and most importantly the lives of innocent people. I could care less about the Raptors playoff chances in comparison to the lives of innocent people.
I have always stated in this blog consistently over a great many topics that at the end of the day while I may love basketball there is a greater things in this world and life in general. It is in these times where you realize that this is just a sport at the end of the day meant for are entertainment and enjoyment. It is not something that means more to me than someone’s life and well being.
You will get the standard stuff that Jonas is young and this is a stupid mistake that someone makes when they are young. It is true but it is also true this is a mistake that could have and thank God didn’t have far greater and more significant consequences.
Winning over everything should never be the mindset. Sometimes you need to realize that there are more important things than that. I have no doubt that by the end of all of this the Raptors will have and maybe legal system as well requires Jonas to do community service on this matter.
The hope is at the end of the day he has truly learned something from all of this. The fact he got caught rightly or wrongly makes you assume this was not the first time it has happened. The thing that is most disturbing or distressing about this for me is professional athletes with the money and means they have this should NEVER happen. If you want to have fun and drink go rent a limo and party it up. I have no right to tell someone how to live their life. That changes when they make choices that could take lives away of others.
Many times on Twitter during holidays or times of the year when people indulge in alcohol I have always encouraged them to have fun and not drink and drive. It is something I firmly believe in and any time someone does be it a friend’s dad or a pro athlete it makes me shake my head that people are still doing this in 2014 with all the work that people have done to prevent it from happening. Clearly that work is not done and may never be.