By Raphael Sugarman
From the time of his rookie season, when he was the only newbie in the National Football League to start all 16 games at the same position, David Diehl has been a model of dependability for the New York Giants.
But that model was tarnished on the streets of Astoria Sunday evening, when the allegedly intoxicated offensive lineman is said to have gone barreling down neighborhood streets, sideswiping not only his own BMW but several parked cars along 35th Avenue.
The following day, Diehl, 31, was arraigned on two counts of impaired driving, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. Judge Lenora Gerald ordered him to be released on his own recognizance and to return to court July 26.
His license suspended, Diehl, a New Jersey resident, faces up to one year in jail and/or a $1,000 fine if convicted.
Diehl was observed at about 8:20 p.m. June 10 in the vicinity of 31-31 35th St. by a police officer from the 114th Precinct responding to the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving a 2011 BMW, according to the DA.
The officer said Diehl had a strong odor of alcohol on his breath, bloodshot and watery eyes and slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet.
Diehl allegedly admitted to police that he had been driving the BMW, which had damage on its front right side, according to the district attorney’s office. It is alleged that a test administered to Diehl resulted in a blood alcohol content reading of .182 percent, which is above the New York legal limit of .08 percent, the DA said.
It is further alleged that Diehl admitted that he had been at a bar watching a soccer game involving Croatia, according to the DA. Diehl’s mother is Croatian and he is said to have always maintained a tie to those roots, even when he moved to New Jersey. Diehl showed up to his arraignment wearing a shirt bearing the traditional Croatian red and white checkerboard and coat of arms — likely a holdover from his time at the soccer bar.
Cultural pride notwithstanding, the lineman expressed regret for the mess.
“I’ve worked hard during my career to set a positive example, and yesterday I fell far short of this standard,” Diehl said in a statement Monday. “I apologize to my family, my fans, the New York Giants and the NFL. I made a poor decision that I sincerely regret and, as always, take full responsibility for my actions.”
The Giants, so far, are playing the situation closer to the vest.
“Obviously we are aware of the situation, although we have not yet had a chance to discuss it with David,” the team said in a statement. “Since it is an ongoing legal matter, we will refrain from comment at this time, although we will say that David has been an outstanding representative of this organization for the past 10 years, and nobody knows more than David does what is expected of our players both on and off the field.”