Here’s a quick recap of NFL DUI arrests since Memorial Day Weekend:
- 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 in a McDonald’s drive-thru on DUI charges
- Justin Blackmon (Jacksonville Jaguars) – June 3rd. Arrested on an aggravated DUI charge, his second drunk driving offense in two years
- David Diehl (New York Giants) – June 10th. Arrested on DUI charges after crashing his BMW into multiple parked cars. Posted a .18 blood alcohol level following a Breathalyzer test.
Commissioner Roger Goodell sees the drunk driving issue spiraling out of control. Unfortunately, his hands are tied when it comes to making any sort of effort toward increasing the penalties faced by players who are arrested for drunken driving. From ProFootBallTalk:
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 [NFLPA] 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.
The NFLPA’s efforts to protect its members from increased punishments is quite laughable. As NFL players continue to risk their careers and lives, while continuously placing the general public in danger, the players’ union has become an obstacle in the way of instituting some sort of punitive system that would act as a deterrent to these sorts of actions. Judging by their continued support of the New Orleans Saints players ensnared in the Bounty Scandal (while ignoring the dangers it presented to the opposing players who were targeted), you have to wonder just how bright the leadership of the NFLPA really is.