Kent Perkins faced the music on Monday.
But then, it was Texas’ senior guard who wrote the lyrics when he was arrested early Friday morning on charges of driving while intoxicated after passing out in his Dodge Challenger at a fast-food restaurant drive-through near campus and then wrecking his car, a “stupid mistake” he admitted in an emotional press conference.
Stupid on any number of levels.
The sobering news couldn’t have come at a worse time for Charlie Strong because it suggested his message of accountability, teamwork and senior leadership in this critical season isn’t being heard. A 21-year-old senior lineman with a team-high 26 career starts who regularly speaks for the team shouldn’t be drinking to excess or staying out so late, no matter if it’s a bye week.
Perkins, properly contrite and genuinely distraught over his actions, is a team captain and remains so. Strong should strip him of that title and make Perkins earn it back. The one-game suspension is appropriate as are Strong’s demands of counseling and community service. I firmly believe Strong, who said he doesn’t drink but understands his players do, takes this stuff very seriously.
The news came as a major distraction for a Texas team that has made distractions an art form and defense a lost art. The Longhorns, reeling from a poor defensive performance at Cal, go on the road the next two weeks to face Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
“I want to apologize to my teammates, my coaches, my family, all my loved ones and anybody who ever looked up to me,” Perkins said. “I made a mistake. That’s not me. It hurts even more because I felt I let them all down. I have a lot of good people in my corner, and this will never happen ever again.”
I believe him, and I believe Strong understands the gravity of Perkins’ offense. But it still happened, one more negative in a sea of them the last two-plus seasons.
Perkins should be credited with speaking to the media and sincerely apologizing for his behavior. He declined to give any details, but said he doesn’t have an alcohol problem and will work to regain the trust of his teammates and coaches. At several points in his 10-minute presser, he paused to gather himself and held back tears.
I respect him for being a stand-up guy under such adverse circumstances. Perkins has always been a media favorite and a strength on the offensive line, and he will be missed at Stillwater this week. A lot.
The punishment fits the crime for Perkins’ first-time offense, but his decision punishes both his team and his coach.