Wednesday, March 16, 2016

AMA: OK, you've made your point. Let Eslick ride.

I was just going to let this story lie, but this morning I got a phone call from a guy whose opinion I respect, in the moto-world. He agreed with me that Eslick—while he is guilty of stupidity—isn't any more guilty than countless other racers have been, in Bike Weeks past. To say nothing of the shenanigans we've seen over the years at Siebken's, on Road America weekends.

My friend pointed out that the woman Eslick was alleged to have pushed to the ground declined to press charges; if Danny hadn't run off, the whole thing would've ended with an apology to her and warning to him, right there on Main Street.

My friend wondered whether someone wanted Eslick suspended just to create some/any media interest in the race. "It's not as if he's Anthony Gobert," my friend said, "who was given chance after chance." That may have been a little conspiracy-theorist, but the AMA itself said that it was suspending Eslick because, "...there is zero tolerance for behavior that is detrimental to the promotion of motorcycling."

Here's a news flash, AMA: The 200's been held in a media vacuum for the last few years. The only reason anyone noticed Eslick's run in with the law was because you publicized it.
MotoAmerica fields are not so strong that the sport can afford to sideline Eslick. Nor is taking away his livelihood appropriate punishment for a misdemeanor. The AMA and MotoAmerica can impose their own probationary terms, and conduct their own drug and alcohol testing. They can even make Eslick pay for the lab work. There's no reason for the AMA to pretend that it has to wait for Florida's Circuit Court to figure out how they'll handle monitoring Eslick from afar.
Anyway, whatever happened between Eslick and that Daytona cop, it's been reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor, and Eslick's free on probation.

That's what the AMA should do now, too. Put him on probation.

The terms of his probation include submitting to regular testing for drug and alcohol use. If he tests positive, he'll presumably be subject to re-arrest and imprisonment.

That seems reasonable enough, and will almost certainly do Danny some good. But there's a catch... According to Eslick's lawyer (as reported in the Daytona News-Journal here)...
The court was willing to accept the proposed plea resolution which is a misdemeanor charge but unfortunately the court cannot control the Department of Corrections with regard to their ability to accept it in a mail in or phone in basis. 
So for now, until prosecutors file misdemeanor charge papers and determine whether or not a probation service provider will accept a mail-in or phone-in appearance, Eslick, of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, remained suspended by the American Motorcycle Association and cannot compete in motorcycle events.
What that means is, Danny's in a sort of legal limbo. The jurisdiction in which he was charged isn't sure how to make him subject to the terms of his probation where he lives (much less, as he travels around the U.S. to race) and apparently that's why the AMA says he must remain suspended.

But this is another example of a motorcycle racing governing body cherry-picking when it will or won't abide by laws that may or may not actually govern that organization.

So here's my message to the AMA and MotoAmerica: you have your own options, when it comes to putting Danny on probation; there's no reason at all why you have to wait for Florida's Circuit Court to figure out how it will administer its probation.

Let Danny ride, starting now. Make regular drug and alcohol testing a condition of his return. Be firm, reasonable, and transparent. Don't take away his livelihood for a misdemeanor.

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