With the large number of good combinations that exists in today’s world, alcohol and the NFL is not one of them. In Texas, the Dallas Cowboys are dealing with that realization as they lost two players early Saturday as a result of driving under the influence. In that car accident, one player has died while the other was arrested and is currently out on bail. Despite the options available to NFL players, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol remains the single-biggest criminal issue in the NFL.
It seems that some NFL players are not able to drink responsibly and that others are paying the price for their poor decision making. Their poor decision making have led to numerous arrests over the years, although not all of them have been the result of driving under the influence.
Since January of 2000, data compiled by USA Today Sports has shown that NFL players were arrested at least 624 times on numerous chargers, which includes 42 times this year. From that number, 28% (177) ended up being arrested as a result of driving under the influence and continues to be the single-based criminal issue for the NFL; nothing comes close and has been more deadly.
Jerry Brown, Dallas Cowboys linebacker, became the leagues latest casualty Saturday as teammate Josh Brent, according to police, ended up driving drunk and hit a curb. His car flipped and killed Brown, who was riding with him.
Players are now coming out and speaking on how common it is for NFL players to drive under the influence. On Sunday, San Diego Chargers linebacker Takeo Spikes spoke about the problem and said, “We’ve all done it (driven intoxicated). But it’s to a point now where maybe you were ignorant and didn’t know any better or felt you were invincible. We’ve had enough of death to show us this is what you do not do.”
He added that, “The families are suffering, and this could have been controlled. This NFL brotherhood, people are not only going to hold us accountable, we are going to be the ones more in the spotlight.”
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Larry Foote also commented about the problem. “I’ve been in those circumstances where I drove where I was under the influence. We have to get a hold of the alcohol. Guys won’t want to hear that. But that’s the problem. Too much alcohol, getting drunk, you’re out of control.”
He even made a connection to the role alcohol played in last week’s murder-suicide that was committed by Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. “I’ve been in those circumstances where I drove where I was under the influence. I’m never going to point the finger. I thank God I’m out of that stage from a spiritual standpoint. Alcohol is nobody’s friend. The last two weeks there’s been two deaths in this league because of alcohol. Guys have to grow up, mature and understand that these are examples. Learn from this. …”
He also added, “There isn’t anything good that comes from alcohol — period. Getting drunk, nothing good. I don’t care if you’re in a cab, you can go home and do something stupid. We have to get a hold of the alcohol (problem). Guys won’t want to hear that, but that’s the problem.”
Ironically, the accident occurred 1.5 miles away from the national headquarters from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a partner with the NFL in the hopes of preventing DUIs.
Brent’s arrest is the 18th time this year that a player in the NFL has been arrested on the suspicion of DUI. This is an increase of seven from 2011 as well as only two away from the worst the NFL has seen since 2006, which was 20. The average arrest for an NFL player for DUI has been roughly 13-14 times a year. The NFL has tried various ways to resolve this issue such as education, discipline and even offering chauffeur services that are available through the players union. All they have to do is to make a call and someone will pick them up.
Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Shaun Smith admitted to using the service and questions why others do not take advantage of it. “The program is there and I don’t know why every player in the league wouldn’t use it. I’ve used it before when I’ve been out, and I’m sure I’ll use it again. Personally, I’m not going to put myself or anyone else at risk by driving drunk. You just wish everyone felt that way.”
Brett Bivans, a senior vice president at the International Center for Alcohol Policies, feels that there needs to be rigorous enforcement in order to prevent this. He feels that the league has their players use ignition interlock systems that are put on a car’s dashboard and is used to measure the blood-alcohol amount from the driver’s breath. The car won’t start if the level measures too high.
Cowboys consultant Calvin stated that the team is considering using the devices. This might be the only thing that will work if players feel they need to go out partying and won’t call for a ride home. MADD CEO Debbie Weir said that ultimately, the real problem is taking “individual responsibility.”
Dallas Cowboy Jerry Brown Jr. Killed in Alleged Drunken Driving Crash
Police say Brown’s teammate Josh Brent was driving drunk when he crashed his car.
No one wants to blame alcohol
Rosenberg kicks the realness about the recent rash of deaths in football.
Jovan Belcher Kansas City Chiefs Linebacker Kills Girlfriend, Then Self
Chad Johnson Arrested for Domestic Violence with Wife; Released from Jail
Tennessee Titans Wide Receiver OJ Murdock Dies After a Self Inflicted Gunshot
Junior Seau Dead After Committing Suicide, Former NFL San Diego Chargers Player