NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Steve
McNair was charged with driving under the influence Thursday even
though police said his brother-in-law was behind the wheel of the
pickup registered to the former Tennessee Titan.
Although McNair was just a passenger, he was charged with a
misdemeanor under a Tennessee law that prohibits a vehicle owner
from letting it be driven by someone who is inebriated.
Police said officer Harold Taylor pulled over McNair's 2003
Dodge pickup just before midnight Wednesday because it was
speeding. The driver, 31-year-old Jamie Cartwright, smelled of
alcohol, failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a breath
alcohol test, police spokesman Don Aaron said.
Cartwright said he was McNair's brother-in-law and acknowledged
drinking at least two beers, police said.
The law used to charge McNair doesn't consider whether the
vehicle owner was drinking, but only if the driver was impaired.
Aaron said Nashville police have used the law to cite 42 other
people this year.
"We are aware of the situation, but we're getting most of our
information from the media," Ravens spokesman Chad Steele said
Thursday. "We've not spoken with Steve, so we're not sure at this
time if we will have a statement."
McNair's attorney, Roger May, said he spoke to the player after
"Mr. McNair was arrested because of the actions of the driver
of a vehicle in which he was a passenger. It had nothing to do with
any actions on his part whatsoever. It's totally a derivative
arrest," May said.
Ravens president Dick Cass said team officials had talked with
McNair and people familiar with the incident. They also have been
briefed about Tennessee law.
"We do know that Steve was a passenger in a car he owns that
was stopped for speeding," Cass said in a statement. "Steve was
not arrested for drinking, or driving the car irresponsibly. There
is a court process that will now take place, and Steve will
participate in these procedures."
Ravens coach Brian Billick spoke with McNair, and the
quarterback issued a statement through the team.
"I have to go through the court process now, and I understand
that," McNair said. "I was planning to be in Baltimore for most
of the remainder of this month to work out with my teammates, and
anticipate that I will be doing that."
McNair declined to comment when he was released from custody. He
was accompanied by a friend, nightclub owner Robert "Big Daddy"
Gaddy, who told WTVF-TV that McNair had done nothing wrong.
Greg Aiello, an NFL spokesman, said it was too early to
determine whether McNair would face any punishment from the league.
"Any law enforcement matter that involves any of our people, we
look into it to determine whether there is ultimately any violation
of our policies," Aiello said.
McNair was arrested on DUI charges once before in Nashville in
May 2003, when he also was charged with illegal gun possession.
After a year of legal wrangling, a judge dismissed those
charges, ruling that police didn't have sufficient reason to pull