(Long Island, N.Y.) It was just a few short weeks ago that Lawrence Taylor was cheered at Radio City Music Hall after being introduced as one of the National Football League’s top draft choices of all time. He stood onstage with the likes of Dan Marino and Joe Montana, but the hometown crowd gave the Hall of Fame linebacker the loudest ovation.
Fast forward to Thursday and Taylor once again was standing in front of someone, but he was far from an applauding Big Blue fan. No, the 51-year-old found himself staring at a judge in Suffern, New York at his arraignment for Rape in the Third Degree and Patronizing a Prostitute.
You may say that he is merely another athlete (or former athlete) who has strayed under the spotlight. That only works when he was hurting just himself by using drugs. This time he went over the top, even for a guy with a lengthy discipline record.
This is the same guy who bolted drug rehab after a week in February of 1986 after coming to the conclusion that hitting golf balls was a better choice to get him to kick the habit.
Taylor has publicly admitted to using cocaine as far back as 1982, smoking crack up to three times a week and that he found a way to beat the NFL’s drug testing. Apparently he didn’t use that foolproof method when he was suspended for the first four regular season games in 1989 after testing positive for the second time under the NFL’s substance abuse policy. (The league does not reveal the substance.)
Less than a year later, Taylor found himself in the back of a New Jersey State Police car after failing a breathalyzer test. In 1991, a taxi driver in Honolulu had the bad luck of being in a fender bender with LT, who subsequently inflicted even further damage on the cab with a metal pipe.
If you’re still proudly wearing your Giants number 56 jersey, then maybe being reminded about his two arrests for attempting to buy crack from undercover cops, being jailed for being six grand behind in child support, or leaving drug paraphernalia in a Jersey hotel room will convince you not to. In case you needed to hear more, Taylor has also faced the music for filing a false tax return and leaving the scene of a vehicular accident.
All of his past less than stellar acts pale in comparison to the latest. Sure, we may not have all the facts yet but it’s kind of hard to stand in LT’s corner right now. One guy that is just happens to be getting paid an awful lot to. Arthur Aidala, his colorful attorney, was a guest on WFAN’s Mike Francesa show. Apparently their defense is going to not only be that Taylor was unaware the woman was a 16-year-old runaway, but that he didn’t have intercourse with her.
“I think that the investigation will bear out that he (Taylor) was in contact with her that night,” Aidala said on the radio. “What exactly happened, I wasn’t there. I think that the evidence will show that there was some contact between the two but it wasn’t sex. Lawrence is saying they did not have sex.”
(If that turns out to be proven true, then Taylor will face a different charge other than Rape. But no matter how you spin it, the fact is that an underage girl is the victim here.) This comes on the heels of Aidala saying only a day earlier, “My client did not have sex with anybody. No. Period. Amen. Is that enough?” Brings back bad memories of Bill Clinton’s speech trying to explain away Monica Lewinsky.
Whatever the truth is, hopefully we will find it out and someone will be going back to jail. If it isn’t Taylor, then you can count on the pimp being refitted for an orange jumpsuit. Rasheed Davis owes a few years on an old manslaughter charge. The parolee allegedly has been supplying the teenager with drugs and advertising her services online for the past three weeks. Someone, allegedly Davis, also assaulted her.
Taylor has a long way to go to prove his innocence and even if he is cleared of something, his already tarnished reputation will be permanently ruined.
Don’t expect to see him any time soon again on “Dancing With the Stars” or at the NFL Draft.