To no surprise, Joey Porter is getting off without any significant punishment for his recent arrest.
Even better, Porter's absence from the Steelers was a short one after president Art Rooney II announced on Friday that the assistant coach will return to the team after his Sunday night arrest and will coach against the Chiefs in the Steelers’ Divisional Round game on Sunday.
To recap, Porter was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after an incident at a bar earlier after the Steelers’ win over the Dolphins. He was subsequently placed on leave by the team. With the district attorney dropping all charges but disorderly conduct and public drunkenness, the Steelers are now fine with him rejoining the team and coaching on Sunday.
Of course, Bengals fans may hate seeing the AFC North villain getting off with essentially just a fine, but the person most upset with this news appears to be Porter’s arresting officer.
Paul Abel, the Pittsburgh Police Officer who arrested Porter, did an interview on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA, and he didn’t hold back his thoughts on the whole situation, especially with how the victim, a bouncer at the bar where Porter was arrested, was assaulted by Porter, and will now watch the Steelers’ assistant coach get off with what amounts to a slap on the wrist.
“I’m a little upset that my victim, the guy who was working the door at the bar, he’s not getting a say so, and I think that’s troubling,” Abel said. “I’m just really upset that my victim, my job is for my victim, my victims deserve their day, it just upsets me.”
It looks like Porter won’t have to answer for what he did and Abel makes it pretty clear that Porter got preferential treatment without going as far as to say it. Abel also added that he feels disrespected by the charges being dropped.
That sentiment was echoed by Bob Swartzwelder, a local police union president, who also thinks this whole situation stinks.
“Quite interesting that the charges against a person arrested were altered before a preliminary hearing,” Swartzwelder said. “And secondly, I would hope every other criminal defendant could expect such expedient justice… or is there something else going on here?”
As Swartzwelder alluded to, if this would have happened to a normal civilian, it would have gone to a preliminary hearing, which could have, at the very least, forced Porter to miss Sunday’s playoff game. Even that wouldn’t have been due justice, but at least it would have been something.
It is pretty normal for professional athletes and coaches to get off easy when they break the law, but that doesn’t make it right.