By: Chrystopher Mulligan
NFL PRO ZACH Staff Writer
|Jason Kidd Accident Vehicle|
Today’s sports universe is one that strongly displays both sides of the field. In the past athletes only had to worry about the things that Sports Illustrated or ESPN wrote about them. Yet now, in the age of Twitter and 24/7 information, it has become clear that the spotlight can be both a blessing and a curse. Lately, many professional athletes are finding themselves in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Now a days athletes embrace the gossip side of sports. Their lives are now side pieces for journalistic outlets like TMZ and People Magazine. With the overwhelming attention, it has become a lot harder for athletes to have aspects of their lives hidden from the public. One area of their lives that will forever be a topic of debate amongst fans is their social lives.
In society today, it’s quite clear that partying and friendships will factor into your social status. Who you are with and where you are at are two subjects that ultimately effects the way you are seen by other people. It can be a sign of power or, if not handled properly, a signal of distress. Lately, the latter is happening at an alarming rate. It seems as though in the past few weeks, professional athletes are auditioning to be on a marathon of COPS. Since the Super Bowl on February 5th, there has been 29 arrests of 27 NFL players1, most recently Kenny Britt of the Tennessee Titans. Britt was arrested early Friday morning after trying to enter the Fort Campbell Military Base. He declined an administered breathalyzer and was taken into custody on DUI charges. Britt’s DUI arrest is yet another in the string of DUIs in the past few weeks involving professional athletes. Jason Kidd of the New York Knicks, David Diehl of the New York Giants, Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks and Nick Fairley of the Detroit Lions all have had notable arrests in recent months revolving around drinking and driving.
|Jason Kidd - Mug Shot|
The common denominator in all of these cases, besides alcohol and automobiles, is that all these men are making large sums of money, more than the average person, and still getting behind the wheel of their own car when they have the luxury of not needing to. Kidd and Lynch being the most notable of the aforementioned men having both been arrested over the weekend of July 14th, each signing new contracts in their respective leagues in the past four months. Lynch secured a top-tier contract for a running back in the NFL, coming in at $31 million dollars, $17 million guaranteed over 4 years, while the point guard’s new contract with the Knicks is $9 million over 3 years. The point of all this is that between the $40 million dollars invested in these two men as well as the Super Bowl bonus for the Giants’ offensive lineman and Nick Fairley still earning his rookie contract of about $15.7 million dollars from the Lions is that the combined wealth should easily afford a fleet of taxis let alone a personal driver for each.
The separating factor from these athletes and the rest of society is that after all the salary figures and what not, these men still had the desire to get behind the wheel. Since 1990, the US has averaged a steady one-third rate of alcohol related car accidents out of all automobile accidents in the US2. That is a scary statistic to look at considering the amount of fender benders an average person could see on their drive to and from work in a week. The fact of the matter is that drinking and driving is and will be prevalent in the US for quite some time and the only way we can break that trend would be by setting a better example, starting with those in the spotlight first.
Now this is in no regards a generalization of all professional sports figures. Many athletes show respect and regard for the law. But that does not mean that this should be ignored. Leagues should begin to attack offenders and levy a strong punishment to those who hold the law in disregard. These men are very well aware of their finances, leaving their inability to properly hold their lives and the lives of others in high regard all the more disappointing. No sports fan wants to see their favorite players suspended or banned, but sports fan would hate to see themselves lose a loved one due to a careless decision by an individual. Just ask the Reyes family.