Why this story matters:
Ilie Năstase was stopped in traffic on Friday morning at 4:45 and, after an altercation with the police and an attempt to bypass a blockade, he was handcuffed and given a breathalyzer test. The result was 0.55 mg of alcohol per liter, close to alcoholic coma, according to the police's press release. This result is far over legal limit and could entail a five-year prison sentence.
Just 6 hours later, Ilie Năstase was again stopped in traffic, in front of a hospital, driving a scooter without having a license, since his had been suspended right after the first incident.
What is notable about the event is that it is virtually the first time that Romanian police carry out this type of action against a so-called VIP. Năstase, a top-ranked player in the world in 1973-1974, was a senator in the Romanian Parliament during 2012–2016 and, as a former member of Steaua, the sports club of the Romanian Army, and holds the rank of Major General, retired.
In Romania, rules are generally applied only after taking into consideration the importance of the person involved. That the police forcibly stopped his vehicle and prevented him from driving the first sign of a shifting mindset.
Details from the story:
- In the car, Ilie Nastase was accompanied by two women.
- After the first incident, Nastase said he had only had three beers and police manhandled and hurt him.
- After the second, he complained that the policemen acted as if under communist times.
- For the two crimes, Nastase received two fines (220 euro and 290 euros, respectively), plus penalty points. He has also had his driving license suspended for three months.
- Ilie Nastase was nicknamed Nasty for his temperament. If in tennis this meant creativity, in his real life his “bad boy” attitude has left a different mark.