NFL Discusses Stronger Penalties For Player DUIs and Substance Abuse Policies

NFL players who drink and drive could face harsher penalties as the professional football organization seeks to crack down harder on DUI-related arrests.

Recently two arrests for DUI charges – toward David Diehl and Justin Blackmon – have helped fuel the conversation about penalties toward professional athletes who drive under the influence of alcohol or other substances.

The NFL’s recent attention toward drinking and driving among players isn’t new, says the organization. A recent article says the organization has tried to impart stiffer penalties for the behavior but has met union challenges.

Founded more than 50 years ago, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) serves as the labor organization for NFL players. Reports have said the NFLPA is looking at overall changes to its entire policy toward substance abuse, including drinking and driving.

A new element to the policy may also include HGH testing, an illegal hormone-based drug for performance enhancement that is believed by some to be used by as many as one-fifth of professional football players.

The NFL penalty now for a DUI is a fine equivalent to the payment for one NFL game, with a cap of $50,000, and possible game suspension.

National DUI statistics that explore the numbers related to professional athletes alongside DUI arrest rates for the non-athlete population suggests that professional athletes who play football have a higher rate.

Around one in every 149 U.S. motorists will see a DUI arrest. Among NFL players, the number is estimated at one player out of every 160. Professional baseball players may see one DUI arrest for every 433 drivers and professional basketball players may see one DUI arrest for every 237.