Chamberlain apologizes for 'an error in judgment' after DUI arrest
LINCOLN, Neb. -- New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain apologized for "an error in judgment" on Sunday, the day after he was arrested in Nebraska on suspicion of driving under the influence, speeding and having an open container of alcohol in his vehicle.
I intend to properly resolve this situation, and do not intend to be in such a situation again. My goal is to focus on pitching for the Yankees in the 2009 season.
-- Joba Chamberlain
"I want to apologize to the New York Yankees and the fans for an error in judgment and for putting myself in a difficult situation," Chamberlain said in a statement released by his agent, Randy Hendricks. "I intend to properly resolve this situation, and do not intend to be in such a situation again. My goal is to focus on pitching for the Yankees in the 2009 season."
Yankees co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner said the team would give Chamberlain that chance to make good.
"If he needs help, we'll certainly give it to him," Steinbrenner told the New York Daily News.
"It happens," he said. "Everybody deserves a second chance -- or even a third chance. "He's 23 years old. He's just very lucky that nothing more serious happened. We're talking about a really good kid here, and that's what counts."
Nebraska State Patrol spokeswoman Deb Collins said Chamberlain was stopped for speeding early Saturday on U.S. 77 south of his hometown of Lincoln.Chamberlain's first court appearance for his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving was scheduled for Dec. 17. His blood-alcohol content level was 0.134 at the time of his arrest; the legal limit in Nebraska is 0.08. Lancaster County Chief Deputy Attorney Joe Kelly said Monday his office has not decided on formal charges. "I have spoken to Joba and he made it very clear to me that he made a mistake," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said in a statement. "We certainly don't condone his actions, but he is part of the Yankees family and I believe he learned a valuable lesson which he can grow from."
Chamberlain was driving a 2006 BMW 750i with Nebraska dealer plates when the patrol stopped him at about 1 a.m., Collins said. The trooper smelled alcohol in the vehicle and saw an open container of alcohol on the front passenger seat, she said.
Chamberlain was taken to the Cornhusker Place Detox in Lincoln, which Collins said is the normal protocol.
Collins said she didn't know Chamberlain's blood-alcohol content.
A message left for Chamberlain at his family's home in Lincoln was not immediately returned.
Chamberlain, who grew up in Lincoln and starred for the University of Nebraska, was 4-3 with a 2.60 ERA in 42 appearances for the Yankees this year.
Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.