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NFL has been pushing for increased DUI discipline

OB-PF026_dui_E_20110818012451 Getty Images

After a rash of recent DUI arrests, with three players popped in nine days for driving drunk, it’s obvious that whatever the NFL is doing to prevent players from possibly killing paying customers isn’t working.

Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News agrees that more needs to be done.  “A guy over the legal limit for alcohol behind the wheel of a car, in fact, is as dangerous as a football player like Plaxico Burress going into a crowded club and having a couple of drinks with a loaded unlicensed handgun in his pants,” Lupica contends.

He’s right.  And, actually, a small piece of metal whizzing around a bar may be less dangerous than a 2,000-pound chunk of it flying down the street.

Per a source with knowledge of the NFL’s thinking, the league has wanted to increase the penalties for several years.  The league contends, we’re told, that the union has resisted.

In fairness to the NFLPA, however, the league could get higher DUI penalties if the league was willing to make the kind of concession necessary to get the union to agree.

If, for example, the NFL were willing to export the appeals process for violations of the substance-abuse policy to a neutral arbitrator, the players may be willing to allow that arbitrator to uphold or reject the stiffer proposed punishments for players who drive drunk.

Thus, while the NFLPA understandably is protecting the rights of men who technically are on their own time and who face consequences via the criminal justice system, both sides need to come together and look at the bigger picture.

Ultimately, this is an entertainment business.  And the men providing the entertainment shouldn’t randomly be endangering the lives of the folks they’re trying to entertain, either by driving drunk or by throwing swords into the stands.

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36 Responses to “NFL has been pushing for increased DUI discipline”
  1. dwoofer says: Jun 12, 2012 10:13 AM

    Well, I’ll try posting again, although my post yesterday was censored.
    The only reason the NFL cares about players getting DUI’s is because that puts its main source of money, beer companies, in a bad light. Otherwise, how can a league that exists on the revenues from constant beer commercials punish a player who purchases and uses the product?

  2. marvsleezy says: Jun 12, 2012 10:17 AM

    I know it may be bad negotiating form, but why shouldn’t the NFL just make their push for increased DUI discipline public?

    That would force the NFLPAs hand – They couldn’t handle the public scrutiny of being on the wrong side of this issue.

  3. sellout3871 says: Jun 12, 2012 10:18 AM

    GOOD

  4. gbsoccer6 says: Jun 12, 2012 10:19 AM

    This is what is wrong with NFLPA. They do not care about what is right but care about how to protect their drunk a$$ players from getting into trouble. What a joke

  5. ishallcomment says: Jun 12, 2012 10:22 AM

    greatest link ever.

    bravo sir.

  6. jpb12 says: Jun 12, 2012 10:24 AM

    Look – There are already LAWS agains drinking and driving. NFL players are subject to them.

    No real need for extra focus from NFL or NFLPA.

    Guys like Diehl and Blackmon will be prosecuted. Goodell already has authority to fine, suspend etc…

  7. mavajo says: Jun 12, 2012 10:35 AM

    “This is what is wrong with NFLPA. They do not care about what is right but care about how to protect their drunk a$$ players from getting into trouble. What a joke”

    I see your point, but it’s also only fair that the NFLPA seek a real, neutral appeals/arbitration system for suspensions.

    The problem is that the NFLPA should have done this last summer during CBA negotiations. This is a big issue that they dropped the ball on. So now they’re stuck looking bad by trying to use this issue as leverage.

  8. jimthebuilder27 says: Jun 12, 2012 10:41 AM

    Oh really? Like how Braylon Edwards pled guilty to a DUI, and the league not only didn’t suspend him, but didn’t even fine him? What a joke!

  9. gordyb7 says: Jun 12, 2012 10:41 AM

    They should fine a player one third of his salary, split it into thirds, and add it to the division rivals’ salary cap for the next season.

    So, if a Lions player (random example) scheduled to make $9 million gets a DUI, then fine him $3 million and add $1 million each to the Bears, Vikings and Packers available salary cap next season.

    The NFLPA shouldn’t mind because the fine money is going back to other players.

    Most players who obey the law should have no problem with their team’s payroll getting a small bonus from an idiot division rival player who broke the law and put people in danger.

    DUI’s are not like getting busted for minor drug posession. You can actually kill people driving drunk.

    Some football players might be too stupid to call a cab, but hopefully they’re COMPETITIVE enough and care about their team enough not to help a division rival by driving drunk.

    This will fix the problem in a hurry.

  10. dasportsninja says: Jun 12, 2012 10:43 AM

    I thought Gooddell was the end all be all when it comes to NFL crime and punishment?

  11. montsta says: Jun 12, 2012 10:43 AM

    I thought the guys in the pic were trying to do the Kid n Play House Party dance. Older peeps you know what I’m talkin bout!

  12. rmc1995 says: Jun 12, 2012 10:46 AM

    Call me crazy, but pro footballers aren’t the only people who drink and drive. As a group, they may even represent a smaller percentage of DUIs compared to the overall population. The NFL could have a zero tolerance policy and that still won’t prevent the danger of drinking and driving.

    Rather than encouraging the NFL to give harsher penalties, why not encourage your local state representative to make stiffer penalties for DUI. I’m more likely to get killed by my drunk neighbor than a drunk NFL player.

  13. seanje says: Jun 12, 2012 10:51 AM

    “In fairness to the NFLPA, however, the league could get higher DUI penalties if the league was willing to make the kind of concession necessary to get the union to agree.”

    Oh how I’m sick of this bargaining chip negotiating from these two sides. Can’t we stop posturing all the time and agree on something?

  14. cwwgk says: Jun 12, 2012 10:57 AM

    The quid pro quo suggestion doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. If stricter penalties are needed for players who choose to endanger the public by driving drunk, why should the implementation of the penalties be conditioned on altering a provision in the collective bargaining agreement? The public is not a party to it, so why should players be rewarded with better leverage in the CBA in return for not driving drunk and risking the lives of the public?

  15. davidjcu says: Jun 12, 2012 10:59 AM

    I know in some professions DUIs aren’t a fireable offense, but in a lot of professions it is. 1st offense suspension, fine, community service, 2nd offense, fine, hearing, community service, mandatory jail time, 3rd offense adios.

  16. ravensgrl says: Jun 12, 2012 11:00 AM

    Aside from fining and/or suspending these players, they could have them involved in community events that are against drunk driving, such as MADD, etc.

  17. garyman1 says: Jun 12, 2012 11:04 AM

    I would be very curious what the DUI rate comparison is between NFL personnel and the average population.

  18. commonsensedude says: Jun 12, 2012 11:05 AM

    Okay, so the next time a wasted player smashes his sports car into some poor unsuspecting innocent bystander, that person – or their next of kin – should just sue D. Smith and the NFLPA? Got it.

    And perhaps a class action lawsuit should be filed by victims of NFL players in DUI-related accidents against the NFLPA. Since they won’t cooperate in doing whatever is necessary to protect the public from a growing number of their members, someone should give them enough of a legal headache that the union feels as if it were suffering … a concussion.

  19. kotcha23 says: Jun 12, 2012 11:06 AM

    “And, actually, a small piece of metal whizzing around a bar may be less dangerous than a 2,000-pound chunk of it flying down the street.”

    Maybe if he was in a mini-cooper or a smart car…he was caught in a 2011 BMW which conservatively has a curb weight of around 4000 lbs depending on the model.

  20. kahnsbushymustache says: Jun 12, 2012 11:07 AM

    I completely agree that drunk driving is dangerous for both the driver and potential victims of that driver, but let’s keep things in perspective.

    Using 2010 Florida DUI statistics, there were 52346 DUI arrests with a population of over 19 million in the state. That produces a 0.27 percent occurrance rate. Apply that to the 2880 players on the NFL 90-man roster population, and that is 8 DUI arrests per year. Since we have had only 3 this year, the NFL popluation is on track to have a lower arrest per capita rate than the non-NFL population. Even if you restrict it to the 53-man roster population, that equates to 4.6 arrests – still on par with the rest of the United States.

    DUI is wrong, but NFL players don’t appear to be getting arrested for them any more frequently than the rest of us are…

  21. peytonwantsaflag says: Jun 12, 2012 11:08 AM

    My God- yes dui is bad but this hysteria’s got to stop. All this pc-ness and sheeplike thinking regarding alcohol is creating outrageous rules and penalties and assinine statements like schefter’s. (eg. .08 is NOT impaired, in some areas if your intoxicated even riding in a car you can get cited)

  22. sambacker95 says: Jun 12, 2012 11:12 AM

    The quid pro quo suggestion doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense. If stricter penalties are needed for players who choose to endanger the public by driving drunk, why should the implementation of the penalties be conditioned on altering a provision in the collective bargaining agreement? The public is not a party to it, so why should players be rewarded with better leverage in the CBA in return for not driving drunk and risking the lives of the public?

    The players aren’t being rewarded for anything. They just want to get the appeals process out of Goodell’s hands. The NFLPA would not be doing their duty if they didn’t try to negotiate anything that would be in the best interest of the players.

  23. hooks024 says: Jun 12, 2012 11:12 AM

    I, for one, fully support throwing swords into the stands. A little disclaimer on the back of the ticket is all it would take to keep the lawyers away. It’d be hilarious.

  24. sambacker95 says: Jun 12, 2012 11:18 AM

    marvsleezy says:
    Jun 12, 2012 10:17 AM
    I know it may be bad negotiating form, but why shouldn’t the NFL just make their push for increased DUI discipline public?

    That would force the NFLPAs hand – They couldn’t handle the public scrutiny of being on the wrong side of this issue.

    I’ve never quite understood this logic about public scutiny with the NFLPA. How would public scrutiny affect the union? They don’t benefit from caving to public pressure and they dont suffer if they stand up to public pressure. What would happen if they didnt cave to fan pressure, are they going to cease being a union? Are players salaries going to be reduced if the union doesnt cave? Somebody please explain why the union should care what fans think?

  25. chatham10 says: Jun 12, 2012 11:19 AM

    The union fights it and then the players can afford the best lawyers and compared to a regular person they get off with a hand slap or community service which is the same because who monitors community service.

  26. deljzc says: Jun 12, 2012 11:36 AM

    There are 900,000 drunk driving arrests each year in the U.S. Approximately 80% of those are male. And approximately 50% are between the ages of 20-29.

    There is no “epidemic” or unusual activity by NFL players as compared to the nation (just like they don’t have any greater increase in suicides vs. national averages).

    The NFL can hem and haw about a no-DUI goal all they want, but it’s going to continue to happen no matter how much you fine them. At a certain point no increase in fines/suspensions is going to change things. Then it becomes punishment just for punishment sake that further divides ownership/commissioner and it’s labor force.

  27. lovefootball4life says: Jun 12, 2012 11:38 AM

    Throwing swords in the stands. “Are you not entertained?” Good way to liven up this post. Very funny addition.

  28. cwwgk says: Jun 12, 2012 12:06 PM

    @sambacker95: actually they would be. Currently, the players don’t like Goodell hearing the appeals. They want that changed. If they agree to stricter DUI laws they would get what they want in return: someone other than Goodell ruling on the appeals. A different appeal process shouldn’t be conditioned on taking greater measures to protect the public.

    I agree the NFLPA has to advocate for the players. They should have just done a better job of it when negotiating the current CBA.

  29. bigbluefan1 says: Jun 12, 2012 12:12 PM

    Why is everyone going crazy about this
    It is a DUI not murder yes DUI is stupid and can hurt people.
    Maybe just maybe these guys are human and made a mistake. If it only happens once back off if it happens a second time bring down the hammer.

    I will say once again stupid mistake can all of you say that at some point in your life you have not done something this stupid?

    The local courts will deal out the punishment and they all have to face there teammates coaches and family give them a break they are only human.

  30. thedudesnotin says: Jun 12, 2012 12:24 PM

    Not sure how I feel on this subject. I mean, you can vote when you are 18, you can join the army, as far I know, at 18, but you can’t drink until you are 21. I think by the time I was 21 drinking didn’t do much more for me and by 25 it was only a social thing to drink one beer and not 15 like when I was first allowed to drink.

    My point is that since you have rules, there are youngsters who are going to rebel against them. With the amount of rules the NFL have with their players, I am not surprised more of them don’t stand up and give the middle finger salute to Csar Goodell et al.

    MADD, while a good idea, can’t really say after 20+ years in the marketing against drunk driving that it has made an immense impact. Maybe it has saved a few lives, but, really, they are not all that effective any more in my opinion.

    Make the rules against DUI and Drugs mandatory under their contracts. Having said that, allow the players to be adults and not treated like kids.

  31. CKL says: Jun 12, 2012 12:45 PM

    Suspend them for every single time they test over the limit, and put their game checks into that fund for car services for drunk players. 2 problems, one solution.

  32. sambacker95 says: Jun 12, 2012 12:51 PM

    cwwgk says:
    Jun 12, 2012 12:06 PM
    @sambacker95: actually they would be. Currently, the players don’t like Goodell hearing the appeals. They want that changed. If they agree to stricter DUI laws they would get what they want in return: someone other than Goodell ruling on the appeals. A different appeal process shouldn’t be conditioned on taking greater measures to protect the public.

    I agree the NFLPA has to advocate for the players. They should have just done a better job of it when negotiating the current CBA.

    Maybe they should have done a better job in the CBA negotiations, but that doesnt mean they should just stop negotiating for the player now that the CBA is signed. If the NFL wanted to change a policy without dealing with the union, they should have negotiated a better deal in the CBA.

  33. buzzardpointlookout says: Jun 12, 2012 12:56 PM

    We have cops & courts that are charged with dealing out discipline to people who break the law.

    Why is the NFL in the business of punishing players for DUIs? They don’t drive for a living.

  34. acdc84 says: Jun 12, 2012 1:01 PM

    “And, actually, a small piece of metal whizzing around a bar may be less dangerous than a 2,000-pound chunk of it flying down the street.”

    2,000 pounds? Are these players driving Ford Pintos??

  35. paperlions says: Jun 12, 2012 1:20 PM

    Honest question: what professions currently have penalties as great or greater than the current punishments handed out to NFL players for DUI?

    I fully understand how dangerous drunk driving is….but the people suggesting that NFL players need to be punished more than they currently are for DUIs likely don’t face any punishment whatsoever from their employers for DUIs.

    How many people have lobbied for their employer to institute penalties for employees that get DUIs ? Anyone?

  36. nagaswan says: Jun 12, 2012 1:35 PM

    “And, actually, a small piece of metal whizzing around a bar may be less dangerous than a 2,000-pound chunk of it flying down the street.”

    And a peanut can be more deadly than a grenade. Way to say nothing!

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