Rafael Furcal to Compete in Playoffs Despite Parole Violation
Braves shortstop Rafael Furcal can compete in the playoffs despite his recent arrest on DUI charges, a judge ruled Wednesday morning . Once the Braves’ playoff run ends, Furcal will begin a 49-day sentence for violating terms of his probation, State Court Judge David Darden said. Darden ordered Furcal to be confined at 5 p.m. the day after the baseball season ends. The infielder, charged with DUI Sept. 10 in Atlanta, will spend 21 days at the Cobb County Jail and then be transferred by deputies to a 28-day inpatient treatment program where he will remain confined, Darden said. Furcal was 49 days short of completing a one-year probation for a June 2000 DUI conviction. The sentence allows the leadoff hitter to make the team’s first playoff game at 4 p.m. today against the visiting Houston Astros.
Until the end of the season, Darden ordered that Furcal not participate in any Braves celebrations, that he be confined to his home or hotel except while playing, and that he be monitored around the clock. The Braves have agreed to appoint someone to monitor him and a probation officer will be able to check in on him at any time. Darden commended Furcal for admitting he had a drinking problem and for seeking treatment.
Furcal, dressed in an athletic jacket, did not speak to the media. After the hearing, defense attorney William Head said an agreement was being worked on with Atlanta prosecutors so that his client will not serve any more time behind bars for the Sept. 10 offense. Cobb officials said Furcal’s travel schedule made him ineligible for the standard work release program.
As a Braves fan, I’m glad to see the team and its are not going to be punished for Furcal’s indiscretions. And I’ve got mixed feelings about the way we handle DUI cases, anyway. This does seem to be part of a growing trend, though, of athletes getting special treatment by judges, such as the decision to let Ravens running back Jamal Lewis serve his six month sentence in his federal drug conspiracy case over the offseason. One wonders if such dispensations are given to non-celebrities whose work schedule is seasonal.