Rules are something that professional sports have always had an issue with. The NFL in particular has been invaded by a whole new brand of athlete that thinks that they can do pretty much anything they wish. Sadly, they usually can with little to fear but a suspension, fine or other slap on the wrist in the broad scheme of things. If NFL commissioner Roger Goodell really wants to clean up the NFL, then he is going to have to lead the charge towards some serious changes. Drunk driving should be one of the easiest things to eliminate it would seem, yet it still happens with alarming regularity.
Consider the case of Braylon Edwards and his most recent DUI arrest in New York. Remember that Edwards was out drinking with former teammate Donte Stallworth on the night that Stallworth struck and killed a pedestrian while driving drunk. He saw the horrible potential of climbing behind the wheel after drinking, and yet he did it anyway. He also knew about the service that the Jets provide at no cost to players that have been drinking. That service allows for a free ride in a luxury automobile. Still, he climbed behind the wheel. Edwards may actually end up going to jail because he was already on probation, but that is uncertain at this time. Regardless, the NFL has a history of overlooking DUI as a serious offense.
Koren Robinson is yet another example. He was given a suspended sentence and caught again within one year drinking and driving again. Why was he still in the NFL? He was dropped by the Seahawks, picked up by the Vikings and then ultimately ended up with the Packers. Inexplicably, he actually re-signed with the Seahawks yet again before finally being released due to injuries. Robinson repeatedly violated the substance abuse policy and was caught drunk driving before he ever left Seattle the first time. How exactly does he still end up in the league for several more years after his second drunk driving conviction?
The NFL can fix this issue simply by making it a one and done situation. Drive drunk and you sit out for a year automatically. Drive drunk again and you are out of the league forever. That would cut down on those repeat offenders and give serious pause to those that decide to ignore the free ride that is offered. Certainly there would be a ton of backlash from the player’s union, but this is one stance the NFL simply must make. If they do not, then the changes that are needed will never come to fruition.
As for the players, they have options available to them. They can take a cab, use the free service, have a trusted friend drive them home or simply ride with someone else to begin with. They have millions of dollars and far more resources than the average law abiding citizen, so holding them to this standard is certainly not cruel and unusual punishment. If every player is forced to accept this policy to join the league, then there can be no waffling on it later. Even the union would be hard pressed to find fault with that logic.
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