Athletes must be punished more for drunk driving

by
Nick Adenhart, Angels, 34, accident, drunk driving

Nick Adenhart

I  wouldn’t be surprised if many of you don’t remember who Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart is. He never really got the chance to make his name a memorable one.

The reason he never got his chance was because he was killed when a drunk driver ran a red light and T-boned the car he was riding in.

Yesterday the drunk behind the wheel finally got convicted for the murder of not only Adenhart but also two of the other passengers in the car: Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson.

It’s a discomforting fact that being reminded of this tragedy today is the only factor that got me thinking that athletes should face severe penalties from their teams and leagues when convicted of driving drunk. Even for a first offense, even if they are .01 over the legal limit.

Whether they like it or not, athletes are role models for millions of people. Their decisions affect people of all ages at different levels. Becoming a role model comes with becoming a professional athlete. There is no running from it.

So teams need to make sure their players are acting like positive role models. And when they don’t, the team needs to take an action to ensure that the player will think five times before screwing up again.

And the players have to realize that their decisions won’t just affect them and their close ones but also people who look up to them.

When they do something like driving drunk they are not only putting their lives in danger but also the lives of anyone who happens to be in their way (this really goes for anyone not just athletes). And at the same time sending the wrong message to the many fans who look up to them.

When teams don’t punish the player that sends a message that can be just as damaging: “It’s ok that you drove drunk, you will just sit out a quarter.” (Thanks Jets for the “punishment” to Braylon Edwards)

But really this goes for any athlete in any sport. A simple slap on the wrist is not enough, both for the athlete and for the people who look up to them. I guess all I’m trying to say is that the penalty for an athlete getting caught drunk driving shouldn’t be to miss a quarter or a game. It should include a hefty fine and depending on the sport at least a 2 game suspension.

Drunk driving is an offense that happens all too often in sports. It took the life of a promising rookie in the MLB and if that isn’t a wake up call to the Leagues to implement tougher punishments on players who commit the offense then I really don’t know what will get them to change.

Enjoy your day,

Julian

P.S. Still beating nicktgal in the picks. Just saying.

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