Published on Friday, 11 March 2011 17:14
Last Friday night, WMVP-AM's Harry Teinowitz was arrested and charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol
. He was not on the air during his usual Monday afternoon shift, and no explanation was given on the air. On Tuesday, he returned to the ESPN 1000 airwaves and gave a brief, but seemingly heartfelt apology for his personal actions of Friday night. On Wednesday, ESPN suspended Teinowitz
for the embarrassing incident for the remainder of the week. He was set to return on Monday... but that was before what happened today.
This afternoon, further details about the Teinowitz arrest and the events leading up to that arrest became public. As embarrassing as Friday night's incident seemed to be at the start of this week, it has just tripled in embarrassment. The online suburban news source The Skokie Patch
first reported what truly happened last Friday night. That was soon followed by the Chicago Tribune
and the Chicago Sun-Times
posting the details on their websites (and presumably, printing them in their newspapers tomorrow).
According to these reports, which site the actual police report as their source, Harry Teinowitz was pulled over after another motorist saw Teinowitz's vehicle dangerously swerving back and forth through lanes and coming close to numerous accidents. That motorist called the police to have the car taken off the road before somebody was seriously injured. After the Skokie Police pulled the car over, the officer smelled the overwhelming stench of marijuana in the car. Teinowitz claimed the person who valet parked his car at the Chicago Blackhawks game earlier in the evening must have smoked it in there. The officer then saw marijuana residue on Teinowitz's shirt, of which Teinowitz had no excuse for. During the field sobriety test, Teinowitz was unable to keep his balance and the officer feared Teinowitz would hurt himself if he continued the test.
After his arrest, the ESPN radio host begged the officers to not continue on with the arrest. He told them that he worked for the Disney Company and would lose his job if they found out. He also asked the officers at the station twice if he could call the Mayor for help. That request was turned down. The police did decide to not pursue the marijuana charges against him, and only charged him with two counts of improper lane usage, one count of DUI and one count of DUI greater than .08%.
These latest details, now made public, complicate Teinowitz's situation even more. It appeared that when it was only a case of a first offense for driving after having too much to drink, and Teinowitz promising to be on the straight and narrow from this point forward, that ESPN was willing to give him one last chance. However, now that a trained police officer has said on the record that he smelled and observed evidence of drug use, on top of the drunk driving, that may be more than his employers are willing to bear. Even worse, the name of the Disney Corporation has been dragged into the public via this police report, thanks to Teinowitz's dropping of that name as he pleaded to be let out of the arrest. The Disney Corporation and the Disney-owned ESPN have a strict zero-tolerance policy for any actions done by an employee that will bring embarrassment to the company, and potentially hurt their businesses.
Due to today's revalations, Harry Teinowitz will not be returning to the "Afternoon Saloon" show on WMVP-AM on Monday afternoon as originally planned. His suspension has been extended with no known ending date, while his immediate bosses in Chicago confer with their corporate bosses about what, if anything, should be done.
Nobody from WMVP-AM has yet to give any public comment on the situation. Harry Teinowitz has been with ESPN 1000 since the station began in October 1998.