Thursday, September 27, 2007

Victimology 101

Lawyers have done much to ruin our society, from driving doctors out of business to forcing ridiculous warning signs. However, their most pernicious contribution might be in promoting the vicitm society- the idea that anyone can become a victom. The laste manifestation of this can be seen in former National Basketball Asoociation (NBA) player Roy Tarpley, who is suing the NBA under the Americans with Disabilities Act, claiming that his cocaine and alcohol habit constitutes a disability.

First, a little background. Tarpley was a multi-talented 7-foot forward, who came into the NBA in 1986. He played five years with the Dallas Mavericks franchise, and was instrumental in the Mavericks' run to the 1988 Western Conference Finals, where they fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games. Hwoiever, he was thrown out of the league in 1991 for using cocaine, which violated the laegues drug policy. Tarpley was reinstated in 1994, but was banned for life in 1995 for drinking alcohol and also for violating the terms of a court-ordered aftgercare program. The events would seem fairly straightforward- a player violates league policy, league eventually pernmanently bans player for multiple violations. Tarpley, however, seems to think that he is a victim here. His suit claims,
Tarpley, who was permanently banned from the NBA in 1995, claimed in his lawsuit that the league and the Mavericks discriminated against him on the basis of his disability as a recovering drug and alcohol abuser.
"Tarpley is a qualified individual with a disability within the meaning of the ADA, in that he has a disability in the form of past drug and alcohol abuse, which substantially limits at least one of his major life activities," as documented in the the 46-page lawsuit, which was filed in Houston federal court.

Since when is coacine and alcohol use a disability? using these products is a choice that Tarpley made, and thus he ought to be willing to bear the consequences as well. No one forced him to partake of alcohol or cocaine, and his initial suspension ought to have warned him that a second violation would bring harsher discipline. Unfortunately, the victim soceity that the trial lawyers are pushing seems to agree with Tarpley. According to the story on Fox Sports, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has agreed with Tarpley that using alcohol and cocaine is a disability.

To me this is a disgrace. Tarpley made his own choices and now does not have the moral strength to accept that his banning from the league was directly due to his own actions. And the EEOC has encouraged this nonsense. Physical limitations should be covered, but choosing to indulge in alcohol or drugs is not a disability in my estimation and I am appalled that the legal profession seems determined to make it so. This is merely one more reason why we need to rein in the lawyers and their enablers in the judiciary. Would that our elected representative had the intestinal fortitude to do that, instead of wasting their time in attempts to curry favor with the green lobby and empty-headed Hollywood celebrities.

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