The NFL has, of course, taken notice of the recent spates of arrests of its players for driving under the influence. CBSSports.com has learned the league will soon communicate with clubs to be particularly vigilant about cautioning everyone -- not just players but all team employees -- that this is a dangerous time of the season for potential DUI offenses.
"This is the time when we need to be very careful," said one person familiar with the league's thinking, "when guys break mini-camps and incidents tend to spike. We want to make sure everyone understands that. Not just players but everyone."
The league isn't screwing around on this issue and while I cannot prove this, I strongly believe the NFL is going to start bringing the hammer to teams that have multiple players with these offenses. But that's more of a hunch than anything.
There is a back story to some of this that's important to consider and it begins with a rarely, if ever before told, story. It's an important thing to understand as the league continues this fight.
Not so long ago the league ran what was called the Safe Rides program. It was founded by a former police officer.
It worked like this. A player would phone into a call center and be registered anonymously. He could arrange a car service to pick him (and friends) up and use that car service for the night. Or, incredibly, if the player wanted to use his own car, and got very drunk, the player could call the service, and an off-duty police officer would drive the player and his car home for him.
Incredible, right? Now, to be clear, it's on the player to not drive drunk. That's it. That is all. But this was a pretty sweet deal and probably kept a number of players off the road after being inebriated. It was also free.
All the player had to do was place a phone call. While some players didn't trust the service, for those that did, it worked well.
Then the union, in 2009 or so, responding to concerns that teams would use the service to spy on players, took it over.
The union changed to a lesser known company and didn't publicize the service with its players. So attendance dropped off and eventually the union stopped the program.
Now, individual teams will help the players, but there's no massive program like there was, and that is the story of how a good thing got ruined.
This isn't to say that if the union hadn't taken over Safe Rides, and the league stuck with it, that there would not have been these DUI arrests. But who knows? And, again, it's always on the individual to make smart decisions after drinking.
But the deterioration of Safe Rides certainly didn't help.