This is shocking news to me, I figured everyone of the Colts players were home and sound asleep by 11:00 PM. Some even go to Cloud 9, on WEST 38th street.
Seriously though, thereare a lot of really good points in here, some things I hadn't considered
Colts know danger lurks, can relate to Tinsley case
December 16, 2007
As a middle-aged white suburbanite whose idea of the night life involves a Bennigan's and a movie at a local theater, the issues surrounding Indiana Pacers point guard Jamaal Tinsley's latest nocturnal close call are a little bit foreign to me.
What I do understand, though, is when you're in your 20s and 30s, and you're single, and you've got a little bit of cash in your pocket, you want to go out at night and have a good time with your friends.
So I went into the Colts' locker room this week and asked several of their players -- all black players, because they could best relate to the Tinsley situation -- how they handle the double-edged sword of fame when they go to the clubs.
They, too, go to 8 Seconds Saloon. They, too, go to Cloud 9. They, however, don't seem to get into the same kind of trouble. Sure, the Colts have had their scrapes over the years, and this is not another one of those Colts versus Pacers comparison columns, but the truth is, all of them go out, and the Pacers seem to have issues far more readily than the Colts.
So what do the Colts do right?
"We kind of have a buddy system,'' linebacker Gary Brackett said. "When we go out, there's a bunch of us, and we all have each other's backs. Even the bathroom, nobody goes alone.
"When you go out, you can't have the mind-set that everybody there is happy for your success. You can't think that you're invincible. And you can't think that you're above the law. No matter where you go, whether it's Indianapolis or somewhere else, you're going to run into guys who don't have as much to live for as you do, and they can cause problems.''
At this point, nobody's completely sure how things devolved late Saturday night into Sunday morning. Apparently there was an argument in the Cloud 9 parking lot between Tinsley's group and another group about their cars, after which Tinsley's group left to return to his condo Downtown.
Next thing you knew, Downtown Indy was turning into the Old West.
While Tinsley has thus far been cast as the victim -- and when you're dodging bullets, you're going to get that benefit of the doubt -- there's also the fact this is the third time he's been involved in a nightclub incident.
Tinsley mentioned the other day this happens to him only in Indianapolis, but if that's true, how come Colts players, who like the night life as much as any Pacers players, don't routinely end up on our front page?
"It's how you present yourself,'' said Colts running back Kenton Keith. He was not referring to Tinsley directly or indirectly, just answering a general question. "If you act all arrogant, nobody likes that, but if you're regular, you're cool with people, it's fine, but you want to make sure you have a safe outlet. You never know when people might be trying to set you up. When you go out with a bunch of other people, at least if something happens, you have witnesses.''
The moment the Tinsley story broke, the immediate reaction was, "What's he doing at a nightclub on West 38th at that hour?''
There were two inferences: First, what was he doing out so late when he had practice the next morning? I don't know about you, but when I was 29, five hours of sleep was enough.
The second inference was that West 38th is in the middle of a dicey neighborhood. And that's true, but Cloud 9, this particular club, is one of, if not the, top nightclubs serving a mostly black clientele in this city. That said, I am told you have to walk through a metal detector and get a pat-down before being allowed entry.
When I asked Brackett about athletes restricting themselves to clubs that don't have metal detectors, he looked at me quizzically and said, "If you want to go to a black club in this city, you're going through a metal detector.''
"Seriously,'' he said.
In a Star story Thursday, it was noted how former Pacer Reggie Miller employed security people when he went out on the town. But even that's not always a deterrent. If anything, the presence of some muscle might make things worse.
"Maybe there's a subtle bump or something happens, it might be something you can handle easily, but security might overreact and rough somebody up,'' Brackett said. "And then it gets crazy.''
Colts safety Bob Sanders said he doesn't want to send the wrong message by showing up with security.
"People look at us, we have security, they're saying, 'Who does he think he is?' '' Sanders said. "Either way, it's a lose-lose situation.''
Clearly, Tinsley has to make some lifestyle changes. In theory, he should be able to go out to a nightclub, have a few drinks, hang out with friends, and not have to feel like his life is in peril. But three times in less than a year and a half, he's found trouble -- or trouble has found him -- in the same kinds of places, in the same sets of circumstances.
For Tinsley, there might be just one workable answer.
Next time, make it a Blockbuster night.