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Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016

We are accountable for our own actions

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Celebrities are a special breed. We, the public, bestow celebrity status on athletes, musicians and movie stars. We expect them to embrace the limelight and they are more than willing to do just that. But in return, celebrities also want special treatment. All too often, we bestow that on them as well.

What's interesting about celebrities in their reluctance to accept blame or responsibility. Poor Paris Hilton wasn't to blame for driving on a suspended license because her publicist had failed to do some paperwork. Poor Barry Bonds wasn't responsible for taking those nasty steroids because his trainer had "victimized" him into thinking the juice was just for sore muscles. You know the routine by now.

So I find it refreshing - though sad - that home improvement celebrity Ty Pennington didn't use the celebrity card when he was arrested for driving while intoxicated this weekend. The television star was nabbed by police Saturday while driving with a tad bit too much booze in his system.

Yet unlike countless others, Pennington said he had made an "error in judgment" and was fully accountable for his mistake. He warned against drinking and driving and apologized to his fans, his bosses and his co-


He said his lapse in judgment was an embarrassment and said he was grateful that his foolish mistake did not harm anyone.

In no way do I condone drinking and driving. It is high among my passions. But you have to give credit to this one celebrity who accepted blame, asked for forgiveness and said he had learned a valuable lesson. He didn't try to pin blame on others and he came up with not one excuse for his stupid mistake. He said "we all make mistakes however this is about accountability."

For those simple words, Ty Pennington should be commended. This doesn't make him a poster child for questionable behavior and it doesn't ignore the fact that he made a serious error in judgment. But I assume it would have been easy - given his celebrity position - to concoct some lame excuse like the hundreds of other celebrities who make similar mistakes. But Pennington faced the music, admitted his mistake and said he had a "wake-up call." How refreshing.

Don't ever drink and drive. But if you do and if you're caught, take a tip from Ty. Be a big boy and understand your mistake. Don't point the finger at someone else or some other circumstance. That rule applies to everyone, not just celebrities.

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Michael Jensen
Michael Jensen