The NFL will implement more programs to try to deter drinking and driving by its players in the wake of two Cowboys’ recent arrests for DWI.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday in his annual state of the league address that drinking and driving is unacceptable, but the league’s response to the problem has to be more than words.
“I think we have to go beyond telling players or telling executives,” Goodell said. “The reality is we have to do a better job of educating people in the NFL that this is a priority. This is for your safety, for the safety of the people in your car, and for innocent people that are out there. There are services designed to help them make better decisions before they leave their homes. We have to make sure that they understand those services, and most importantly, take advantage of them, use them.”
Defensive tackle Jay Ratliff was arrested Jan. 22 on a driving while intoxicated charge after hitting an 18-wheeler and a highway median with his car. His arrest came 44 days after Ratliff’s backup, Josh Brent, was arrested for intoxicated manslaughter as the driver in a single-car wreck that killed his passenger, practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown.
Debbie Weir, the chief executive officer of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, whose national office is in Las Colinas, was in the audience for Goodell’s 48-minute address. She met with Goodell during the December owners meetings in Irving and again last week.
The Cowboys are expected to meet with MADD, too, to determine additional steps they can take.
“We’re going to engage in a number of programs to help educate all of our clubs – players, coaches, executives – on what we can do,” Goodell said. “Victim-impact programs have been very effectively used with several clubs over the past several months. We’re going to do that, because this is a high priority, not only for the sake of safety, but it’s part of our responsibility in the communities that we live.”
-- Charean Williams