TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians has a rule: Don’t park where you’re not supposed to.
Not obeying those orders cost one practice squad player his job with the Cardinals last season.
Defensive end Lawrence Okoye, a former British Olympian in the discus, was cut by the Cardinals on Oct. 21, 2015, after parking in a spot reserved for people buying tickets at Arizona’s practice facility in Tempe. The aftermath of the decision was captured at the beginning of Episode 3 of “All or Nothing,” the eight-part series about the Cardinals’ 2015 season on Amazon Video.
In theory, it was a minor issue -- Arians explained it during a meeting with team president Michael Bidwill and general manager Steve Keim, among other team executives, that Okoye couldn’t find another parking spot -- but for a team that was coming off a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers and was sitting at 4-2, it was a sign that Arians wouldn’t tolerate small mistakes.
“There weren’t any parking places, so he just parked and came running in,” Arians said. “Tough s---, bro.”
Arians continued: “He has a different sense of entitlement having been an Olympian. He is a talented guy. He ought to go to Oxford.”
Oxford is actually part of Okoye’s future plans.
He was accepted to Oxford’s law school in 2010, he told ESPN last season, but deferred his seat at the school until 2017.
Okoye’s mistake quickly became a teaching tool. In the next scene, Arians told defensive tackle Olsen Pierre, who replaced Okoye on the roster, not to make the same mistake by parking in a spot reserved for handicapped parking or the ticket office.
“We ain’t got many rules,” Arians told Pierre with a laugh.
Okoye’s run-in with the Cardinals’ parking police wasn’t the first time that parking was an issue in the show. In Episode 1, which showed the Cardinals’ first team meeting in June 2015, Arians declared that someone had parked in his spot two days in a row, calling it his “pet peeve.”
Then he issued a warning.
“If there’s a sign on a parking place anywhere in this facility, don’t park in the bitch,” Arians said, “or I’ll tow your ass.”