A couple months back, I lit up Lofa Tatupu. I don't pretend to know the guy, but whatever stupid part of me thinks it does, whatever part sees athletes as humans and wants to like them for something more than their ass-kicking sports prowess, always thought Tatupu was a pretty good guy. Throughout this sordid, sub-compact affair I've maintained a belief that despite doing something irresponsible, selfish and violent, Tatupu is indeed a good guy.
Well, here's a step in the right direction.
Tatupu will be a guest referee of a flag-football game on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound tomorrow at Franklin High School. The game will feature as many as 50 mentors and children that are part of the program.
"We are thrilled to have Lofa involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters," said Tina Podlodowski, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound president and CEO, in a statement from the organization. "The experience he brings is such an inspiration, and the kids will be so excited to have the opportunity to be on the field with him. His appearance will leave a lasting impression with attending Bigs and Littles who will be on the field playing in the games."
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a legitimately good charity. It uses its money efficiently, really influences the lives of the people it targets and isn't a covert publicity campaign for some despicable company.
Chastising Tatupu, I said:
Lofa Tatupu and the Seahawks organization can either distance themselves from this, take their lumps, whatever trifling lumps they be, or seize this moment to do something good. Spare me your contrition. Become a better man. Become a voice against drinking and driving. Talk to kids. You're way cooler than you think. Bring the knowledge, the facts and sure it'll be lost on most, but someone will listen, someone will care, and that person's life or another's may be saved. As is, Tatupu, you stand as just another example that it's not so bad to drink and drive, everyone does it, and if you're caught, no big deal. And that's deadly.
The lumps were indeed trifling, but I'm pretty sure this is Tatupu's way of seizing the moment to do something good. I hope he knows that Lofa Tatupu, face to face, telling you that drinking and driving is stupid is worth the words of a 1,000 teachers, 2,000 parents and a million commercials.