SBD/April 18, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Does MLB Need A Punishment System For Players Arrested For Drunk Driving?

Gallardo was arrested for DUI Tuesday morning with a blood-alcohol level of .22
Drunk driving is the "biggest problem" facing MLB because the league and the MLBPA "have done nothing to prevent or deter players from committing this crime," according to Anthony Witrado of SPORTING NEWS. Brewers P Yovani Gallardo was arrested for DUI early Tuesday morning with a blood-alcohol level of .22, "nearly triple Wisconsin's legal limit of .08." He is the latest MLBer to "get tanked and put their keys in their ignitions." But the league and the union "haven't put rules on the books to punish offenders." Gallardo, like other players arrested for DUI, likely "won't see the inside of a jail cell for any significant time," but it is "time for MLB and the MLBPA to take a stand." Witrado: "It's time to at least attempt to put an end to this problem. Until that happens, the game's priorities are backward" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 4/17). NBCSPORTS.com's Craig Calcaterra notes there will be "zero discipline" handed out to Gallardo, who is scheduled to pitch this afternoon against the Giants. MLB's "presumed rationale for this ... is that there can and should be no discipline meted out to Gallardo or others who behave like he did because a DUI is not a baseball transgression." However, MLB and its teams "can and often do suspend players and coaches for stuff that has nothing to do with baseball at all." Those often involve behavior "far less odious and dangerous than getting behind the wheel of a multi-ton automobile while intoxicated." Calcaterra: "If Major League Baseball and the MLBPA felt that players driving drunk was as serious as, say, smoking a J in your apartment, they could agree that players would be subject to suspension or some other form of discipline" (NBCSPORTS.com, 4/18).

IMPLEMENT POLICY OUTSIDE OF CBA? ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said it is “absolutely reasonable” that MLB implement a stricter DUI policy following Gallardo's arrest. If needed, MLB should implement a new policy outside of the CBA because “you can't just hide behind" what is in that agreement. Kornheiser: “You need to show leadership. Leadership in this case is to look at somebody who was almost three times above the legal limit driving around. That person has to be suspended. In regular life, a normal person is going to be suspended from their jobs for something like that. You have to do this and you worry about the consequences later. You act in the public interest first.” ESPN's Michael Wilbon said, "This is not a new issue. Do it the right way, collectively bargain it. ... Get some sort of situation where this is punished” ("PTI," ESPN, 4/17). 
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