In news that won’t come as a surprise to anyone, Larry Johnson violated his probation by refusing to play sports with children at a Kansas City PAL, instead demanding to run an art class. It also isn’t a surprise that a professional athlete was able to get away with multiple violations without even a slap on the wrist. The Kansas City Star has all the details, including the verbal admonishment by judge Joseph Locascio.
“For a young kid playing sports, the opportunity to have contact with an NFL player is once in a lifetime,” Locascio said. “That’s why I’m so disappointed here. I thought you were going to spend time with the kids, and apparently you’re not capable or interested in doing that.”
Locascio said he “puts people in jail every day for not doing community service.” Still, Locascio chose not to put Johnson behind bars and instead reinstated his probation. Locascio said Johnson could complete his remaining community service hours with any nonprofit organization in Washington, D.C., where he will play this season.
City Prosecutor Beth Murano detailed Johnson’s other violations in court Friday. She said he is supposed to send a monthly form to his probation officer, but he didn’t send any from January through May. Once Johnson was notified of the violation, he sent all five months at once. He then didn’t send forms for June or July, Murano said.
“He has to do what he agreed to,” Locascio said. “No more of this wishy-washy.”
Johnson also failed to report to his probation officer that he had been stopped by police in Virginia and cited for not having a driver’s license, Murano said.
During the upbraiding by Locascio, Johnson didn’t make eye contact with the judge. At one point, Johnson looked at his watch.
After the 20-minute hearing, Johnson walked out of the courtroom smiling, followed by his mother and brother.
Larry Johnson continues to show that he is unable to mature or learn from his mistakes and the justice system continues to allow the behavior. If this were you or I that had the issues that LJ has and we violated probation in so many different ways, it’s a safe bet that we’d be put behind bars.
So while it’s nice to hear the judge (or anyone else) take Johnson to task for being one of the worst human beings around, the words are hollow when they are followed with “Hey, go back to DC and continue to do nothing there and get credit for it.”
Johnson is a failure to society, but the judge was a failure to the justice system by letting the former Chiefs running back stroll back to the nation’s capital with a big smile on his face.