When Vikings' fullback Jerome Felton got arrested for DUI a week ago, we mentioned that there was a program that gave NFL players a place to call if they had too many drinks during a night on the town and were unable to drive home on their own.
It appears that we should have been speaking about said program in the past tense.
Here's the problem, though -- because certain players believed that their calls would get back to their teams and be used against them, the NFLPA took the service over a few years ago, as Freeman reports, around 2009. The NFLPA switched to a lesser-known company and didn't publicize the service among the players. So, players didn't avail themselves of the service, and it eventually fell by the wayside. At this time, there is no known service for players who find themselves in such a position, unless they want to flag a cab or set up a designated driver program among friends before the party begins.
This appears to me to be a huge gaffe on the part of the Players Association. For starters, it's sad that the players were so afraid of potential repercussions from their teams that they decided it was better to risk driving while under the influence than to call the shuttle service. I know if I was the owner of an NFL team, I'd feel better knowing that my player had made it back to their house/apartment safely than knowing that he got behind the wheel completely blasted.
But to let the program lapse completely is pretty inexcusable. The Players Association is supposed to look out for the best interest of the players, and getting rid of a program like this that had been available previously is hugely irresponsible on their part. Hopefully somebody, whether it's the NFLPA, the league, or the individual teams, brings this program back so that we don't need to see more things like what we saw recently from folks like Jerome Felton and Justin Blackmon.