MADD to be at rookie symposium, too

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As the NFL tries to deal with an unacceptable spike in DUI arrests, a group that has raised awareness of the problem in recent decades will help the league get the message across to the new crop of pro football players.

Per Alex Marvez of, Mothers Against Drunk Driving will have a “presence” at the upcoming rookie symposium, which will take place in Canton later this month.

The move comes as both the league and the NFLPA try to reduce the number of alcohol-related incidents, three of which happened in the past two weekends.

NFL executive Adolpho Birch told Marvez and co-host Jim Miller of SiriusXM NFL Radio that the league has been trying to increase the discipline for drunk driving.  “We’re really trying to step up that level of [player] discipline,” Birch said, while also confirming PFT’s report that the union has been resisting change.  “We think that suspension is important to send the right deterrent effect.”

NFLPA spokesman George Atallah, also appearing on SiriusXM NFL Radio, said that the issue is “not a matter of [being] willing or unwilling to change,” but a function of the collective bargaining process.  As Albert Breer of NFL Network pointed out on Tuesday, the HGH negotiations have delayed and complicated the finalization of new rules for the substance-abuse policy and the steroids policy.

“We’ve got the agreement we have from 2010 that we worked with the league to amend before the [player] lockout was enacted [in 2011],” Atallah said.  “We’re sticking to that right now.  They know the channels they need to take if they want something changed.”

Still, whatever the two sides currently are doing isn’t working.  And it will require an increase in deterrence plus strong efforts to assist players who may be intoxicated to get home, no questions asked.

The “Safe Rides” program, which as Marvez explains it costs $85 per hour, should be free — no matter how much the player using the service earns.  The fact that it costs nothing creates an even greater incentive to use it (after all, plenty of people with plenty of money are nevertheless tighter than steel shoelaces), and the available of a no-cost-no-questions-asked service makes it even less excusable if the player chooses to instead drive home.

Something needs to change dramatically before there’s another Mario Reyes incident.  As his family would say, something should have changed dramatically before there was a Mario Reyes incident.  With Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon reportedly blowing a 0.24-percent BAC and Giants offensive lineman David Diehl reportedly more recently producing a 0.18, too many players are putting too many members of the public in too much danger, and the league and the union aren’t doing too much to change it.

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15 responses to “MADD to be at rookie symposium, too

  1. Are they going to invite the opposing side? DAMM (Drunks Against Mad Mothers) need to have their say also, I would think. 🙂

  2. I’m all for cracking down on DUI’s, but giving millionaires free rides home isn’t gonna do it. People need to stop holding these guys hands, aren’t 95% of them supposed to be university educated, and yet they can’t manage their finances, their personal lives, or there behavior? 4-game suspension without pay for first DUI offense and a year for a second, even if the first happened before they were in the league (ie Blackmon). Most middle class really feel the financial effects of a DUI ($10,000+), so make sure these guys feel it too ($350,000+) and maybe they’ll think first.

  3. It’ll be in one ear and out the other ear for the rookies, especially during the financial responsibility lectures. They’re already figuring out how many diamond earings, grills, necklaces, gold rims on tires, and increasing the number of hangers in their posses are going to cost them.

  4. hmmmmm…….give a 21 year old kid a check for $5-$20 million dollars, add in his lifetime dream brand new sports car, couple of babes then just add alcohol and what do you get ? point being that not all these kids are going to listen regardless of who delivers the message.

  5. Good, maybe MADD will shock a few of these players into getting a cab. Too many innocent people have their lives altered or taken away from these drunk driving fools.

  6. Arrest for drinking, no pay for a year and suspended for the whole season. Second time you are out of the NFL. Never happen because that punishment is too harsh and the NFL doesn’t want their cash wagon taken away. NFL players have killed innocent people and it doesn’t matter. Isn’t Donte Stallworth playing? You or I do that and it’s jail for at least 5 years. NFL priorities are all screwed up!!

  7. I’d like to know what the NFL is doing to combat suicide among their ranks.

    Three times more people die by suicide than drunk driving accidents every year.

    It’s great that they’re allowing MADD to be there.

    It’d be 3 times better if they addressed suicide and depression.

  8. Mario Reyes jaywalked in front of a car that was being driven by Stallworth. He could have been hit and killed by anyone that night.

    Not excusing Stallworth for driving while enebriated, but he stayed at the scene, went to jail, showed remorse, and paid the family.

    Try using Leonard Little the next time. He actually plowed through a red light and killed Susan Gutweiler.

  9. phinfan527 says:
    Jun 13, 2012 2:45 PM
    Isn’t Donte Stallworth playing? You or I do that and it’s jail for at least 5 years.

    Sooo… basically understand nothing about that case. A couple of points:

    1) The accident was the fault of the pedestrian. No one disputes this. He was jaywalking against the light.

    2) Florida State law does not allow someone to be convicted of vehicular homicide simply because they were legally intoxicated. It must be proven by the prosecutor that the intoxication was the direct cause of the accident, which experts agree would have been next to impossible to do in this case.

    3) If he would have insisted on a trial, he most likely, based upon all of the above information, been acquitted of vehicular manslaughter and only convicted of basic DUI, and not spent any time in jail at all. Same thing for “you or I”. No one would have gone to jail for anywhere close to 5 years given the actual facts of the case.

    3) It was Stallworth’s choice not push for a trial he could easily have won because he felt the right thing to was to settle the case and financially compensate the family.

    All of this is fact. You can look it up if you care. It DOES NOT excuse his actions that night, but the idea that he got off easy because he’s an NFL player is nonsense.

  10. Good, bad and indifferent lol. Good for him to stand up tho. As for realitypolice, that is a legal argument that he was jaywalking & it was the fault of the pedestrian, but the “reality” is that being drunk while driving impairs the ability to react quickly & accurately… so that places the blame on the driver for not having that ability. All of us drivers are, on occasion, forced to react to the actions of other drivers or pedestrians. You have to possess that ability or you should not be driving.

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