Since the beginning of 2013, 10 NFL players have been arrested on drunken-driving related charges, from 7th-round draft picks to long-time veterans. They make up a major portion of the league’s 47 arrests since last season ended. It’s become more than a PR problem — players are literally putting themselves and others in danger by getting behind the wheel intoxicated. (It should be noted that Donte Stallworth has officially killed more people than Aaron Hernandez at this point — though we’ll see how that bears out in Hernandez’s trial.)
So on the heels of a major day of discipline for the MLB, it appears the NFL is pushing to punish players involved in alcohol-related arrests in a more tangible way going forward.
The NFL has pushed for a mandatory suspension for any player who is convicted of an alcohol-related driving offense. An NFLPA source told FOX Sports that “players have been open to discussions and already discussed increasing discipline on DUIs.”
The source, though, said that “other proactive measures beyond discipline need to be taken.” That includes such examples as further demographic research on those arrested to determine whether there is a trend that can be addressed, as well as a better communication system with players reminding them to make appropriate transportation arrangements if they are planning to drink.
While year-long player engagement programs are all well and good, it’s clear that players having too much time on their hands in the offseason leads to bad decisions. And since the NFL can’t send a personal protector/chauffeur/reminder-er with every player everywhere they go, a more prudent decision would be to make a decision that follows players everywhere they go — namely, one that says “If you drink and drive, you will not be able to play football and make money.”
Nothing will happen on this front until the NFL Players Association finalizes a testing policy for HGH, so this is just talk at this point. But its a step in the right direction, and that makes two days in a row that professional sports leagues have made us say, hey, maybe you guys really do care about something besides money. It’s not true, of course. But you made us say it.
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