As the Cowboys process the events of Saturday morning, which resulted in the death of linebacker Jerry Brown and the arrest of nose tackle Josh Brent on charges of intoxication manslaughter, the organization is looking for ways to avoid similar tragedies in the future.
According to Jarrett Bell of USA Today, the team is considering the use of SafeKey, a device that can prevent player vehicles from starting if the driver cannot produce alcohol-free breath.
“Obviously, we do whatever we can do,” said Calvin Hill, a former Cowboys running back who now serves as a consultant regarding the team’s off-field support programs. “I don’t know what more we can do. We’re always examining and going over things.”
Such devices commonly are used for persons who have been convicted of drunk driving. In the case of persons who have no prior history of such offenses, it could be difficult for the Cowboys to implement this program, especially without approval of the NFLPA.
Per Bell, the NFLPA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA Today.
Though the use of the device would help deter drunk driving among NFL players, there’s a delicate balance that needs to be maintained between individual liberties and deterrence of misconduct. For the hundreds of players who behave responsibly, such measures could fairly be characterized as overreaching.
That said, the NFLPA could choose to agree to allow the device to be used by every player. To secure such an arrangement, however, the NFL would be required to make major concessions to the players. At this point, it seems highly unlikely that the device ever would be used — except by a players who have a history of impaired driving.