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Cardinals GM Keim apologizes for DUI, calling it ’embarrassing beyond belief’

(Kevin Zimmerman/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Steve Keim sat in front of a microphone Wednesday and at one point held back tears as he addressed reporters in person for the first time since his July 4 arrest for extreme DUI.

On Tuesday, he’d met with Arizona Cardinals staffers. He addressed players Wednesday at the team’s Tempe headquarters, then apologized for his mistake that led to a five-week suspension, plus other punishments.

During the suspension, Keim wasn’t allowed to contact the Cardinals. He went through a series of DUI education programs and said he self-evaluated and soul-searched.

“For the past 50 days I’ve replayed over and over in my mind, ‘What would I say?’ or ‘How could I apologize in a way that people would understand or forgive me for my inexcusable actions?'” Keim told reporters. “And the truth is there’s nothing I could say that would make what I did right. In fact, taking ownership in my behavior moving forward (is) what will ultimately define me as a man.”

Keim, who was suspended immediately after he plead guilty July 17 to having a blood alcohol content of .19 after his arrest, didn’t go into detail about what programs he went through.

Asked if the experience led him to determine whether he had bigger problems with alcohol, Keim said he was sure the punishments and self-evaluations that followed the arrest had made him a better person after he looked at his past behaviors.

The general manager called it “extremely humbling and embarrassing beyond belief.”

“I’ve hurt a lot of people in this process,” Keim added. “In fact, after the reports came out, my 12-year-old son was texting his buddy, and he said, ‘They keep showing your dad over and over again on TV. I’m so sorry he had to go through that.’ And my son said, ‘I’m not. He shouldn’t have been doing it.’ And my son is right.

“I don’t think there’s any feeling that’s worse than feeling like you let your children down.”

In a leadership position, Keim acknowledged the hypocrisy that might come when he judges young players’ characters.

“We go through the draft process and we look for guys who have great character and we talk about it all the time, the person versus the player,” he said. “And I made a major — poor decision. It’s not a mistake, it’s a poor decision.”

Meanwhile, Cardinals players welcomed the GM back.

“It’s just not something to be repeated,” defensvie tackle Corey Peters said of Keim’s DUI. “The men in this room, they didn’t get here by accident. It’s been lots of mistakes and lots of things to overcome. So I never question anybody who’s made it to this levels’ character because I know what it takes to get here. I think that he’s taken the right steps since the mistake and we’re happy to have him back.”

Arizona head coach Steve Wilks and running back David Johnson said the team is ready to move on. They’ve accepted Keim’s apologies.

“We have embraced him. He’s part of our family and we’re excited to have him back,” said Wilks, who before speaking to reporters embraced Keim as the GM left the podium. “I know him as a person beyond the GM role and for anybody to endure and go through what he did … We’re not saying, once again, that we feel sorry for him, because again it was poor judgment.

“I cannot commend him enough in how he’s stepped up and taken ownership.”

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