Horseplay Lands Tampa Bay Sports Radio Host In Jail

Former Buccaneers player and current WDAE/Tampa sports radio host Ian Beckles was arrested late Thursday night for disorderly intoxication, after walking into traffic and making contact with cops’ horses. Beckles has not been fired by the station; in fact, he did his radio show hours after his arrest.

A horse is a horse. Of course. Of course.

And you might be able to touch a horse.

That is, of course, unless the horse’s saddle is occupied by a police officer, and a fellow cop is ordering you not to make contact with the horse.

Oh, and you’re drunk.

Such was the case for Ian Beckles, the former NFL guard who spent most of his career in the ’90s playing for the Buccaneers. He has since moved on to Bay area sports radio, as he has been co-hosting the midday program on WDAE/”620 The Sports Animal” alongside Ron Diaz for years. While Beckles was racking up tackles, Diaz was one half of the successful “Ron & Ron Show” with Ron Bennington, who later partnered with Fez Whatley for the “Ron & Fez Show,” originially heard on New York radio and is currently available on satellite radio.

Anyway, Beckles was quite ossified on Thursday night. Maybe he decided to put in a full day at Winghouse Pinellas Park after a live broadcast from the establishment earlier that day.

Or perhaps he got hammered at Jannus Live, where Beckles was spotted amongst a crowd leaving a concert. A police officer noticed Beckles walking into traffic and instructed him to return to the sidewalk. According to a police report, Beckles was “highly intoxicated” and “slurring his speech.

“[He] had difficulty speaking in complete sentences,” the report continued, “and had the strong smell of alcohol on his breath.”

And for good measure, he was also “swaying” – but the fact that he was doing so well after the concert had ended, that’s a sign there could be a problem.

Beckles was certainly asking for trouble when, after being taught to observe pedestrian traffic signals, he was quoted as saying to a cop, “Okay, tough guy.”

It was at that point that Beckles gravitated toward as many as two officers on horseback, and despite the command from a police officer – “Don’t touch the horse! Don’t touch the horse!” – he disobeyed that warning, and as a result, he was arrested and charged with disorderly intoxication.

He would be sprung by dawn on $100 bail – with just enough time to sleep off his buzz and prepare for his Friday morning show on the Buccaneers flagship radio station.

There must be something in the water in Florida. So far this year, Beckles’ WDAE colleague Dan Sileo became Beckles’ former colleague, after referring to three African-American free agent NFL players – one of which eventually signed with the Bucs – as “monkeys”. Weeks later, Sid Rosenberg was cuffed in South Florida following a drunken stupor far more bizarre than Beckles’ ordeal; his employer at the time, WQAM in Miami, fired Rosenberg after the arrest – and just days later settled on the aforementioned Sileo as his replacement. (Rosenberg has since resurfaced on Miami radio at 640 WMEN.)

Unlike these cases, it does not appear that there will be plans for Clear Channel-owned WDAE to dismiss Beckles in light of his arrest. In fact, on Friday – just hours after his arrest – a new promotion involving Beckles was posted to his show’s section on the WDAE website: a benefit for a children’s charity on which Beckles is on the executive board. The event will be complete with “celebrity bartenders” in former Bucs placekicker Martin Gramatica and Tampa-area native and Olympics gold-medal swimmer Brooke Bennett.

The name of the event? “Stars with Spirits.”

Yes, come for the stars, and Ian Beckles will stay for the spirits – if you know what I mean.

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