As first reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Kent Youngblood, Minnesota Lynx guard Odyssey Sims was arrested for suspicion of drunk driving on June 6. Later that same day, Sims suited up for the Lynx and scored 15 points in a close victory over the Phoenix Mercury.
Youngblood provides further information about the circumstances of Sims’ arrest:
Sims was observed traveling on Interstate 394 west of downtown Minneapolis. After finding Sims was driving 77 mph in a 55 mph zone and observing a lane violation, the state trooper pulled Sims over shortly after 1 a.m. Three field sobriety tests indicated impairment by alcohol, and a preliminary breath test showed a reading of 0.206, according to the complaint. At the Hennepin County jail, a breath test showed a blood alcohol content of 0.20 — more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 for driving in Minnesota.
Sims, who currently leads the Lynx in scoring, “faces two gross misdemeanor charges of third-degree drunken driving.”
A court appearance is scheduled for July 16.
On Sims’ situation, the Lynx offered the following statement to the Star Tribune:
The Minnesota Lynx are aware of the reported incident involving Odyssey Sims. As an organization we take these matters very seriously and continue to wait for the legal process to run its course and will have further comment when appropriate.
Based on precedent, a suspension seems likely for Sims. As noted by High Post Hoops, Diana Taurasi (2009) and Alexis Hornbuckle (2010) each served a two-game suspension for drunken driving charges.
With Minnesota in the middle of the standings, losing Sims for a pair of games, if not more, could raise lineup questions. However, more critical are the questions Sims’ arrest should raise for the WNBA.
Per the CBA:
Players shall at all times conform their conduct to standards of good citizenship, good moral character, and good sportsmanship and shall not do anything detrimental or prejudicial to the best interests of the WNBA, their Teams, or the sport of basketball.
In the past, the WNBA has tended to over-police the behavior of players. However, the league and its teams more recently have tried to obscure player misbehavior, perhaps hoping that highlighting examples of “good moral character” by some can hide the mistakes of players whose actions could endanger the lives of others.
Without violating players’ rights and privacy, the league should require teams to be consistently accountable to the good, as well as the bad, actions of members of their organizations. Honesty and transparency about the achievements and imperfections of players can strengthen the political messages the league wishes to amplify.