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Beefed-up DUI penalties would deter NFL drunk driving


Earlier today, I argued that the league, the teams, and the NFLPA need to come together to solve the nagging problem of drunk driving by pro football players.

Though several of you correctly have pointed out that employers can do only so much to control the behavior of employees, the NFL can deter DUI incidents by dramatically increasing the punishment.

Currently, a first offense results in a fine equivalent to two game checks, barring aggravating circumstances. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, the league has pushed hard for a two-game suspension for a first offense, but the union has resisted. The source said that the parties had agreed to a one-game suspension plus a one-game fine last year for a first offense, but the finalization of that agreement has been bogged down by the parties’ inability to agree to the procedures for HGH testing.

Though the union should be protecting its players, why protect those who drive drunk? As we learned today, the victims of drunk driving by members of the NFLPA can include other members of the NFLPA. Maybe that tragedy will prompt enough members of the union to push leadership to agree to stiffer penalties.

The path to eliminating drunk driving from the NFL comes from eliminating those who drive drunk from the NFL. We’ve previously argued that a first offense should result in a one-year suspension. Harsh? Yes. But it would likely ensure that players will make the no-questions-asked call for a ride home if they are drunk.

If also would prompt teams like the Cowboys to shy away from bringing in to the local community players who have a history of driving drunk.