After a coach is charged with a postgame DUI, the NFL must be sending a strong message


The NFL She shouldn’t have had to send the memo that reminded her 32 teams of the alcohol restrictions on team property and team trips.


On November 1, ex Heads assistant coach Brett ReedAndy Reid’s son, was sentenced to three years in prison for grievously injuring a girl while she was drunk driving 21 months earlier. Reid, 37, was on his way home from work and was drunk when he crashed his car into his parked car on the shoulder of a freeway in the Kansas City area. So the dangers of drink driving must be fresh in the minds of most of the NFL community, right?

Apparently it wasn’t fresh enough, because two incidents in the same week prompted a response from the league.

First, a post appeared on social media Washington leaders quarterback Taylor Hynek He enjoys a beer on the team plane while celebrating his team’s victory Monday night Philadelphia.

Then, early Friday morning, Tennessee Titans Offensive coordinator Todd Downing was arrested and charged with driving under the influence and speeding just minutes after landing his team’s return trip from Green Bay after Tennessee’s win over Packers.

Heinicke’s social media post perhaps reflects poor judgment and immaturity; Breaking the “act as if you’ve been there before” code. But the university condemns such behavior because this very thing can lead to Downing being passed over, which is much more serious. The boss was lucky that he was stopped before he could kill someone.

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Titans OC Todd Downing has been arrested, charged with DUI, and speeding

So, because of what could Eventually, the NFL reminded teams of this policy.

The statement issued by the league read:

In light of recent events, clubs are reminded that league policy prohibits alcoholic beverages, including beer, in locker rooms, training or office facilities, or while traveling on team buses or planes at any time during the pre-season or regular season. or post-season.This applies to all players, coaches, club personnel, and guests traveling with your team.This policy has been in place for many years.Providing alcohol on club facilities or while traveling creates significant and unnecessary risk to the League, players, coaches, and others.Violations of this policy will be taken Seriously important politics and will lead to great discipline.

“Each club must ensure that its travel arrangements do not include the provision of alcohol service at any time and must take appropriate steps to ensure that no alcohol (whether beer or any other alcoholic beverage) is available at its facility. Please direct all other questions He turned this over to the Football Operations Board.”

Downing, 42, was running a vehicle in a dangerous way and could have had a repeat of Brett Reed’s situation, or worse.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel spoke to reporters Friday and declined to go into specifics due to the ongoing legal process, but said, “We all have a huge responsibility as members of this community, as coaches and players in this organization, as parents and spouses and colleagues to make great decisions, and we understand that.” .

It’s unclear what kind of discipline Downing—one of Vrabel’s top assistants and someone previously considered by some in the league as a future head coaching candidate—can get from the Titans and the NFL.

But it’s important that league officials and the Titans send a strong message because even though Downing made a mistake and has no known previous wrongdoing, he is in a position of authority and influence as a coach, which should set a good example for his players. and members of the Nashville community.

The league also needs to send a strong message because, for whatever reason, drinking and driving remain an issue in the NFL, just as it is in America, where more than 10,000 people are killed annually by drunk drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. .

That was one year ago Raiders Wide receiver Henry Ruges, while driving under the influence and at 150 miles per hour, struck and killed a fellow motorist, 23-year-old Las Vegas resident Tina Tintor. Tintor and her dog were burned alive as a result of the crash that occurred at 3:39 a.m. on November 2, 2021.

At least four NFL players in the past 25 years have been involved in drink-driving accidents that have killed others. Meanwhile, others, including figures in positions such as Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Arsay W Arizona Cardinals General Manager Steve Kim pleaded guilty to drink driving in the previous eight years. NFL penalties have varied in severity.

Ruggs, who faces up to 20 years in prison, was snapped by the Raiders, but the league has yet to issue an additional sentence while they await legal action.

In 2014, the NFL was suspended Cowboys Defensive lineman Josh Brent was suspended 10 games after losing control of his car while driving with an alcohol level more than twice the legal limit for the state of Texas and killing passenger and teammate Jerry Brown.

Brown Wide receiver Donte Stallworth was suspended for the entire 2009 season for pleading guilty to a DUI count of first-degree murder. kiss, ex rams Defensive end Leonard Little in 1998 served an eight-game suspension after hitting and killing a woman.

Penalties also varied for individuals guilty of DUIs that did not involve death. There were repeat offenders like Aldon Smith and Michael Floyd, who also received multiple shots at redemption. And we’ve seen non-gamers receive indulgences after DUIs. Irsay, who should be at the highest level, served a six-game suspension and was fined $500,000. Kim, who also had to be at a high level, served a five-week suspension, paid a $200,000 fine and kept his job.

It remains unclear what kind of punishment Downing might receive, but according to NFL policy on drug abuse, the discipline for players guilty of a DUI offense, absent aggravating circumstances, is a three-game suspension without pay. The second offense results in an eight-match ban. These guidelines apply to players, but Downing could look at a penalty similar to Kim’s. When also is still unknown. The NFL generally waits for the legal process to complete. But should the Giants act quickly, or wait for a decision from the NFL?

Falling back could very well have hurt his prospects for a head coaching job in the near future, and rightfully so. You cannot lead effectively while displaying such poor judgment. But not only should Downing have known better, but his decision was also completely unnecessary since all NFL teams offer a free chauffeur service at any hour of the day for any player or coach who has been drinking.

Now, the Titans, instead of being able to focus on building momentum after Thursday night’s win over Green Bay, will likely scramble to get a makeshift contingency plan in their offensive coordinator. This could threaten their chance of winning matches. But since Downing chose to put himself ahead of the team and anyone who shared the road with him on Friday morning, he and the Titans will have to deal with the repercussions.

The instructor should consider himself blessed that he has not injured or killed anyone else. And it is likely that he will have to work hard to regain confidence while helping his players learn from his mistakes.

We hope that Downing’s arrest serves as a wake-up call for all NFL players, coaches, and fans, and the league’s warrant helps save employees and fans from future alcohol-related violations. But history suggests it may soon fade into a distant memory.

But the NFL must do what it can to avoid that. League officials like to see their organizations and teams as leaders in their communities. Now there is another chance for the league to do the right thing by handling Downing’s situation in a way that sends a clear message against drink driving while hopefully saving its staff and fans from similar life-threatening mistakes.

(Photo by Todd Downing: Steve Chambers/Getty Images)

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