Morgan offered to bring three Dodgers players -- Russell Martin, Joe Beimel and Delwyn Young -- back to the Westin hotel after all had been at a nearby restaurant after the Pirates' 6-2 loss to Los Angeles on Tuesday. Just after leaving the parking lot, Morgan was pulled over by a city policeman on West General Robinson Street, which runs along the third-base side of the stadium.
According to Morgan, the officer informed him that the tint on his vehicle windows was too dark and violated the state law.
"I was texting in the back seat and before you know it, we're sitting on the curb and it's like, what's going on right now?" Martin said...
"I guess we fit the description pretty good -- we're in Pittsburgh, young, African-American driver, nice car. It was embarrassing."
Martin's statement offends me deeply--Nyjer Morgan isn't "young"!
All kidding aside, whether Martin's right to be upset or not, one would think that a statement by a public figure that implies that Pittsburgh police are racist would merit more news coverage than this story has gotten. Also, there's this:
When the officer asked Morgan to step out of the car, the Pirates' outfielder admitted he got agitated and lost his temper. Morgan said that all the players were searched. Morgan's SUV also was searched.
According to Morgan, the officer that first pulled him over called for backup -- about three other police cruisers -- during the search process.
So Morgan lost his temper with the police and didn't get in any trouble? That's remarkable. I wonder what the real story is here. I assume if I lost my temper after being pulled over, I'd be taken to jail. But I'm not a baseball player.
The LA Times has more:
Russell Martin, Delwyn Young and Joe Beimel shook their heads and giggled when asked about how they were pulled over, individually searched and forced to sit on a curb by a police officer outside of PNC Park the previous night.
The players were at a late-night spot across the street from the ballpark that describes itself as being perfect for a "pregame meal or postgame drink" and accepted a ride back to their hotel by Pirates outfielder Nyjer Morgan. According to the players, the officer told them that Morgan's black SUV was stopped because the front windows were tinted. The recently purchased vehicle also didn't have a license plate.
The article later quotes Beimel (who is white) saying he did not think the incident was racially motivated. Personally, I don't know what to say--I don't have any experience with Pittsburgh police and am lucky to have only been pulled over once in my life. I believe "Driving While Black" exists, but I suppose it's also natural that the police would notice a new vehicle with no plates, whether or not they could see who was inside. That doesn't explain the search, of course.
I don't mean to stir the pot here, but I'm really surprised that I can't find this anywhere in the Pittsburgh papers. (UPDATE: Dejan Kovacevic did link to the LA Times story in his blog.)