What Can The NFL Do To Prevent Players From Drinking & Driving?
The NFL has a big problem on its hands. Check that: The entire country has a big problem on its hands. But, the NFL is really helping highlight that problem right now. That problem is drinking and driving, a problem that’s not particularly new but that is becoming a bigger and bigger problem by the day.
Over the course of the last few months, there have been a handful of different NFL players who have been arrested and charged with DUI or DWI. But, the most serious incident involving an NFL player and drinking and driving occurred over the weekend when Dallas Cowboys nose tackle Josh Brent was charged with intoxicated manslaughter after he was involved in a late-night crash that ended up killing his sole passenger, his Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown. The incident sheds even more light on the problem that the NFL is facing and calls to mind a very simple question that doesn’t seem to have a clear answer: What can the NFL do to prevent players from drinking and driving?
There have been a bunch of different ideas. According to several sources, the Cowboys have thought about installing electronic vehicle immobilization devices inside the cars of their players. These devices would prohibit players from driving if they had been drinking prior to getting into the car. But, there are obviously a lot of ways to get around using those devices. Players could have other people blow into them or they could simply rent a car for the night to get around having to use them.
Other people have thrown out the idea of attaching mandatory penalties and fines to DUI and DWI charges. By doing this, the thinking is that players will carefully consider the ramifications of drinking and driving and make previous arrangements before going out. But, how harsh should those penalties and fines be? If they’re too strict, there’s a good chance the NFL Players Association will shoot them down.
So, what other options does the NFL have? Well, the one idea that seems like it could potentially work is to have people who have been involved in DUI and DWI crashes come in and talk to teams and players about the dangers of drinking and driving. A lot of guys who have struggled with alcohol-related crimes in the past have fascinating stories to tell and could serve as cautionary tales for many NFL players. Will it have an immediate impact on the high number of DUI and DWI cases that impact the NFL? Probably not. But, over time, it will make a difference.
The bottom line is that drunk driving is a big problem that affects the NFL in a big way. So, the league really needs to buckle down and figure out a way to teach guys about the consequences of drinking and driving. Otherwise, more guys like Josh Brent are going to have to find out the hard way. And, that’s definitely not what the league wants, is it?