Denver, CO- In the span of just one month two executives with Denver Broncos have been arrested and charged with DUI and the team has vowed to adequately punish their “irresponsible behavior.”
On Saturday, July 6th, 40 year-old Matt Russell, the Broncos’ director of player of personnel, was arrested in Breckenridge after he crashed into a patrol car.
According to the Colorado Highway Patrol, Russell was driving his black Toyota Tundra in Frisco when he collided with another car. He stopped and exchanged information with the other motorist and continued on his way.
In the meantime, someone called the “Report Every Drunk Driver” tip line to report a suspected drunk driver was traveling south on Highway 9 toward Breckenridge, ABC Denver reported.
A patrol officer responded to the call and parked his car along the roadway so he could stop the driver, but as the Tundra approached it slammed into the rear of the patrol car at 40 mph, the affidavit stated.
The officer suffered minor back and neck injuries along with a laceration on his arm.
Russell performed poorly on field sobriety tests and a successive blood test revealed that Russell’s blood alcohol level was .246, three times Colorado’s legal limit.
He admitted to having two “green drinks” but police found a half empty fifth of Hiram Walker peppermint schnapps in his truck.
Russell was arrested and charged with DUI, careless driving resulting in injury, having an open container and no proof of insurance.
Just one day after Russell’s arrest, the Broncos announced that another team executive was also arrested for drunken driving.
The team’s director of pro personnel, Tom Heckert, was arrested on June 11 in Parker, Colorado and had a blood alcohol level of .16.
The team vowed to punish the two men and suspended them both today, potentially for an extended period of time, ESPN reported.
Many believe the NFL has a serious drinking problem—over the past 12 months there have been a rash of DUI arrests for players. There were 42 DUI arrests of NFL players in 2012 alone, including incident earlier this year where a Dallas Cowboy player Jerry Brown was killed by his intoxicated teammate Josh Brent, but little has changed since this tragedy.
The NFL’s rules of conduct apply equally to players and executives, but they frequently let players off with a slap on the wrist, only receiving suspensions for a game or two. The fines for intoxicated driving are equivalent to a player’s salary for two games.
Letting the athletes get off with minimal punishment sets a bad precedent for other employees, though executives generally receive longer suspensions. According to USA Today, when Detroit Lions’ President Tom Leland was arrested from DUI in 2010, he was suspended for a month and fined $100,000.
NFL Commissioner Robert Godell has stated he would like to make the penalties for drunken driving tougher, which could include longer suspensions, higher fines and possible banishment for the NFL altogether.