|Harrison Smith and other Vikings encouraged teammamtes to use . (US Presswire)|
In the aftermath of the car accident and tragic death of the Cowboys LB Jerry Brown, who was riding in a car driven by his friend and teammate NT Josh Brent, some Vikings players offered cautionary advice about drinking and driving. They said there are services all around, through the NFL and each team, and they advise others to use the resources available to them.
“At the [rookie] symposium, they cover pretty much every topic you could [imagine],” rookie S Harrison Smith about league resources. He also said the team makes it a priority. “Some guys are going to do this that or the other, and [the team] does a good job of saying ‘if you do that, please call us.' There's always someone you can call to help you.”
P Chris Kluwe agrees that there are plenty of resources out there for players who are too impaired to drive, but ultimately it's up to the individual as to whether or not they use them.
“I think the league does plenty,” Kluwe said. “They have resources available for us. Each team has their own sources available for [players]. When it comes down to the end of the day, are guys willing to do the right thing or not? You can only lead a horse to water so many times. It's an awful saying at the end, but you can't make them drink if they don't want to. So if guys are going to do the right thing, it's because they want to do the right thing.”
Kluwe said that players should first ask themselves why they are drinking on the night before a game.
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But he points to the culture of the league that seems to tell players that they are invincible.
“It's kind of part of the culture,” he said. “We're raised to be invincible out on the football field. Running around (me not so much but other guys) hitting people -- you have that mindset that nothing can ever happen to me because you are so good at what you do. But in reality, when your judgment is impaired and you get behind a two-ton automobile, it doesn't matter how fast you run a 40, physics is going to take its course. So, guys need to realize that it is OK to ask for help. To call someone and say, ‘I can't make it home, will please come and pick me up.'”
The Vikings have security officials give a presentation every year. The officials give out phone numbers to call, and Kluwe said that it is kept confidential--from the coaches and organization--because if it wasn't, then no one would use the program.
Kluwe, who was fined $5,250 on Wednesday for violating the league's uniform policy in support of punter Ray Guy's bid for the Hall of Fame, knows that in the end, paying a fine is definitely the lesser of two evils.
“At the end of the day, would you rather be fined $5,000 or be in jail for four-to-five years and having to live the death of someone who was your best friend,” he said. “When you weigh the consequences, call somebody.”
For more Vikings news and notes, follow Joe Oberle on Twitter @CBSVikings and @joeoberle.