A recent rash of drunk driving arrests, including one for Viking fullback Jerome Felton, has prompted a memo from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. That memo, obtained by CBSSports.com, is essentially a stern lecture about the need for guys to behave responsibly, and a reminder to teams about the PR damage that can result from these incidents.
There have been several negative law enforcement incidents in recent months involving both players and non-player employees. These incidents primarily have involved alcohol or drug-related offenses, specifically driving while impaired. Clearly, operating a vehicle under the influence of any substance poses a significant risk of injury to the driver and others. These risks are underscored by well-known tragedies within the NFL family.
The Personal Conduct Policy makes clear that we must all conduct ourselves in a manner that is “responsible, that promotes the values upon which the league is based, and is lawful.” Every negative incident undermines the respect we have earned from our fans, erodes the confidence of our business partners and threatens the continued success of the league.
As your club concludes its mini-camp, it is essential that you take time to reinforce this message with your staff and players. In particular, the following points are suggested:
Be responsible. If you choose to go out for drinks, make arrangements for a designated driver or “safe ride” service. Remember that law enforcement is aggressively protecting the public from the dangers of impaired driving. DON’T TAKE CHANCES.
Know the environment. Avoid trouble spots and places that don’t provide adequate security. Don’t try to provide your own “security” by carrying a weapon.
Use available resources. A variety of resources are available to help you. Contact your Director of Player Engagement, Security Director, the NFLPA at (800) xxx-xxxx, or the NFL Security Department at (800) xxx-xxxx for assistance.
Note Goodell’s specific mention of “safe ride” services. Mike Freeman reported recently that the original NFL safe ride service, which was started several years ago, was shut down because it was too slow and wasn’t available in all cities (and because some in the union feared the league might use it to spy on players). A new service was set up by the NFLPA in partnership with a private investigation firm and charges players $85 for its use. 85 bucks seems like a small price to pay to avoid a big NFL fine or even a suspension, not to mention jail time.