Dec 8, 2012; Irving, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys player Josh Brent as seen in an Irving police department mugshot photo. Mandatory Credit: Irving Police Department/Handout Photo via USA TODAY Sports

NFL Eyes Stricter DUI Penalties to Curb Drunk Driving Epidemic

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The NFL and its players’ association are in discussions to strengthen penalties for drunken-driving offenses, FoxSports.com is reporting.

Last December, former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent was involved in a car wreck in which teammate Jerry Brown, a linebacker on the practice squad, was killed. Brent’s blood alcohol level was 0.18, more than twice the legal limit in Texas. Brent made the decision to retire from football indefinitely this summer and he is facing an intoxication manslaughter charge.

According to the report, the league wants players who are convicted of such offenses to receive mandatory suspensions. A union source told FoxSports that “players have been open to discussions and already discussed increasing discipline on DUIs.”

The source added that “other proactive measures beyond discipline need to be taken,” those measures include a demographic study of incidents to see if there is a trend to the arrests and a better system to communicate to players that a service is available to provide them rides when they have had too much to drink.

An announcement on stronger penalties for players convicted of drunken driving will not come, however, until the negotiations on HGH testing are finalized, the source said, because that agreement will have an effect on other league policies including personal conduct.

The move comes at the right time, according to a U-T San Diego database of NFL arrests, 10 players have been arrested on drunken-driving related charges since the beginning of the year. Two Denver Broncos executives were also suspended on DUI charges this offseason as the NFL DUI epidemic gave the league a bad image this summer after the tragedy in Dallas. Making a move to push to punish those who put others at risk couldn’t have come at a better time.

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