NFL players are afforded a lifestyle the average person can only dream of. Why do so many insist upon risking it all by getting behind the wheel while intoxicated? Here’s a recap of the driving arrests over the last seven days:
- Nick Fairley (Detroit Lions) – May 28th. Cited for reckless driving (driving 100MPH) and attempting to evade officers. Fairley also had an open container of alcohol in his vehicle plus no proof of vehicle insurance.
- Jerome Felton (Minnesota Vikings) – June 1st. Arrested on DUI charges
- Justin Blackmon (Jacksonville Jaguars) – June 3rd. Arrested on an aggravated DUI charge, his second drunk driving offense in two years
The worse part about these offenses? The league and its teams sponsor car services for its players in order to avoid mishaps such as these. Logical follow up question: Why don’t these players use the resources and perks provided to them? CBSSports’ Mike Freeman was able to get an interesting take from some unnamed players.
The safe rides program was never extremely popular, but when the league ran it, it was still used. Most players utilized the service (and still do now) at high profile events like the Super Bowl. Players not participating in the game would use the service to hit the Super Bowl party circuit. Now, the service is all but dead. Its lack of use, players say, is about lack of trust. That trust of course has gotten worse the past few years after a lengthy and bitter lockout, and only deepened suspicions that the car services provided by teams cannot be trusted.
Some players believe the NFL puts hidden microphones and cameras into the vehicles. Others believe the drivers are spies for the league or, if they aren’t, the drivers would sell any potential embarrassing information to tabloid newspapers. One player believed the limo drivers might plant embarrassing information on the player and then blackmail him. Crazy, yes. Extreme paranoia? Definitely yes. But one reason given was actually sensible. One player source says teams will use the number of times a player activates the service when contract time arrives and then use that information against the player. It’s allegedly happened on several occasions.
One longtime veteran told me another reason players won’t use NFL’s car service (or any for that matter) is because they want to show off their own fancy cars even if it means they are risking their lives and careers and the lives of innocents by drinking and driving
So, in a sense, the NFL and its teams have manufactured an atmosphere of complete mistrust when it comes to the use of their safe rides program. In a league with millions of dollars at stake, it really isn’t that far fetched to say that the players paranoia isn’t justified and their employers may go to certain extremes to protect themselves. However, that still doesn’t excuse them for driving drunk. Even if they don’t want to use the NFL’s free ride program, these athletes have the funds to cover their own car services. Let’s hope that these men being to smarten up.