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Athletes Under The Influence

Let the record show that professional athletes are no more likely to get arrested for drunk driving then you or I. As a matter of fact statistics say they are less likely to be arrested for driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated. 

New York Post Jason Kidd DUI headline
New York Post with Jason Kidd's DUI on the front page (NY Post)

For what it’s worth a recent report by SB Nation over a one-year period showed that NFL players are very much similar to the general public when it comes to arrest records while basketball, baseball and hockey players are actually much better. However with that said the recent case involving newly-signed New York Knick Jason Kidd is disturbing and maybe it’s time for pro sports to take a hard look at how it handles such cases.

The 39-year old Kidd was arrested on a DWI charge early Sunday morning following a one-car crash shortly after leaving a club in the Hamptons and only a mile from his home.  He drove into some shrubs and knocked down a utility pole before his vehicle stopped and from all indications was in no position to drive after a night of partying.  So why did he?

Jason Kidd like many others was clearly lucky this weekend.  Sure he’ll be fined and probably lose his license but with the millions he’s earned playing basketball and his new contract with the Knicks he can simply hire a driver for whatever period he does not have one.

Of course the big question here is why didn’t he simply hire one Saturday night or call a taxi when he realized that a night of drinking made driving risky?  I know…we say that in every instance when someone gets nabbed for this.

Let me get back to why Kidd was lucky.  He hit shrubs and a pole and not another car or person because considering his alleged state he could have just as easily struck a car and killed others including himself.  The fact that he did not and suffered only very minor injuries was simply a matter of luck and it should not take away from how we view him and that is stupid, reckless and thoughtless.

Even if the numbers show that pro athletes don’t have a bigger problem with drunk driving then the rest of the public it’s time for leagues and teams to come down harder on those that play for them.  I don’t know if they could do it or would do it but I would love to see the Knicks announce they are voiding Kidd’s new contract. Of course they won’t.

Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks (Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Oh by the way, Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch was also arrested over the weekend on suspicion of DUI after failing a blood alcohol test.  For what it’s worth Kidd refused to take one and pleaded not guilty.


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