Six major league players have been arrested for DUI since Jan. 1: Miguel Cabrera, Coco Crisp, Austin Kearns, Derek Lowe, Shin-Soo Choo and Adam Kennedy. Law enforcement is doing its job. Major League Baseball and the players' association is not. After the tragic death of Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock and the unfortunate death caused in an accident involving former Yankee Jim Leyritz in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., haven’t we learned our lesson?
How many more deaths will it take before baseball does something about this problem? Do we have to lose our children, parents, siblings or friends before we take action? Enough of the problem. Let’s find a solution.
Here are my ideas:
1. If convicted of a DUI, you receive the same punishment as testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs: a 50-game suspension without pay the first time; 100-game suspension for the second violation; and if there’s a third offense, you are banned for life. That is more than fair in an effort to save lives.
2. Bring parents who have lost their children to drunken driving accidents into each of the 30 clubhouses. Show the players pictures and videos of the 8-year-old children playing baseball the night before they were killed. Let the players see the parents crying while telling the story. Let them feel the lifetime of pain and agony that they have to live through.
3. Provide players with the phone numbers of cabs, town car or limo services in every city.
4. Implement a club rule: No drinking and driving, period. No exceptions.
In April 2006, I was arrested for DUI, and although the charges were later dropped, the process was a learning experience that changed my life. I spent considerable time learning the negative effects of drinking and driving, and never again will I have a single glass of wine, or a single bottle of beer and get behind the wheel of the car. It’s not worth it. I owe it to your family and friends, and you owe it to mine. I’m a proponent of saving lives and using cars as transportation, not as potential weapons.