Well this is awkward.
Le'Veon Bell tried to do the good guy athlete thing when he agreed to go to the prom with Ava Tarantino, a Waukesha, Wisconsin high school student. It seemed like this would all just be a nice, clean PR hit and everybody wins.
Not so fast.
Tarantino's high school administrators at Waukesha West had a little issue with that. The district's policy bars anyone from going to prom who has a criminal history with drugs, alcohol or violent crime, and anyone older than 19. Bell, 25, was arrested in 2014 for marijuana possession and a DUI charge. That got him a two-game suspension from the NFL. Then he got suspended again by the NFL for missing drug tests. Now, this.
"You can Google Mr. Bell," Terry Schuster, the Waukesha district spokeswoman, said.
"We have to be equitable in the way we treat our students," she said. "We don't even know if this is a real commitment."
Look, all of this kind of sucks. The whole thing was a seemingly superficial thing as it was and having an NFL player at your prom seems cool, especially since Tarantino is a Steelers fan. She met Bell before a game in 2014 and they've followed each on Twitter ever since. It happens. We've seen plenty of these things out there in the last few years. But rules are only as strong as they're actually applied, so kudos to Waukesha for taking the PR fire for this.
Jim Tarantino, Ava's father, hopes all of this can be worked out.
"I think, in this case, he's a celebrity. He's not her date," he said. "And I think the fact that he's agreed to do this and to bring his family, speaks very highly of who he is as a person."
He added: "Everyone makes mistakes; we all do. I'm hoping we can come to something that would be beneficial for everybody."
For now, all Bell will be able to attend are public events like the march beforehand.