Grapevine, TX- Yet another NFL player has been arrested for intoxicated driving. This time it was the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive tackle Jay Railtliff who was arrested for DWI in Texas after a collision with a semi. With an average one player arrest for drunk driving it begs the question; is their DUI policy too lenient?
According to USA Today, Raitliff was arrested Tuesday morning after his Ford truck slammed into the side of a semi. ESPN reported that Raitliff turned his truck into the semi, then turned sideways and ran into the center median.
Neither Raitliff nor the truck driver was injured.
Raitliff, ESPN reported, failed several field sobriety tests and was asked to take a breathalyzer but he refused. He also showed other signs of intoxication; bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and a “moderate” odor of alcohol. He later had his blood drawn but the results of the tests won’t be available for another 10 days.
Police arrested Raitliff who was at first cooperative, but once taken into custody he became combative. CBS News reported he began to use abusive language
In Texas, if you refuse to blow that can be used as evidence against you in court and it can result on automatic suspension of your license for at least 180 days.
Railtiff’s arrest came just over a month after one of his teammates Jerry Brown was killed in a DUI-related accident. His friend a fellow Cowboy Josh Brent was driving and he was later arrested for drunk driving.
In 2012 there was a rash of DUI arrests for NFL players. Last year alone there were 42 arrests within the NFL according to USA Today. Since 2000, 624 NFL players have been arrested for various criminal charges of those 17 percent were related to drugs or alcohol.
While the NFL mildly punishes their players, usually through the use of fines and a one game suspension, the policy may to be weak to prevent the excessive DUI arrests. A player can get arrested after a game on Monday and be back on the field for a game the next Sunday.
The NFL has pushed for a two-game suspension for first time DUI offenders but they have met with serious pushback from player unions. Currently, the fines associated with an intoxicated arrest are equivalent to their pay for two games. Perhaps a higher fine and a longer suspension would be a better deterrent.
Players are adults and should be allowed to make their own decisions however unwise they may be, but what message does this send to their millions of fans, many of whom are impressionable children. Sport heroes are widely admired and their public persona whether they want it to or not influences the actions of their ardent fans. These high-paid players aren’t sending a positive message to their fans when they drive drunk. They have a powerful platform that could be used to positively influence their young and old fans alike, so why don’t they?