Six major leaguers — Miguel Cabrera, Shin-Soo Choo, Coco Crisp, Derek Lowe, Austin Kearns and Adam Kennedy –- have been charged with driving under the influence this year, but not one suspension has been handed down as a result of the incidents.
The incidents obviously occurred on each player's own time, but it's unwanted publicity that's flooding the news almost weekly.
In the NBA, either the league or an individual team has handed down multiple suspensions for DUIs over the past few years.
Jason Richardson (2009) and Andres Nocioni (2008) are two players who were suspended by the league for drunk driving, each receiving two games. In 2008, Carmelo Anthony — one of the league’s most recognizable faces – was suspended by the Denver Nuggets, his team at the time. Because his offense occurred in the offseason, he served a two-game suspension to begin the season.
Teams in the NFL were not permitted to suspend or deactivate a player upon them being charged with a DUI or DWI for the first time under the previous collective bargaining agreement. Braylon Edwards of the New York Jets was allowed to suit up following his DUI last season, but he did not start the game.
The NFL proposed stricter DUI policies in September of 2010.
The NHL does not have much of a history when it comes to suspending players based on DUIs, but it did suspend forward Mark Bell, who played for the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2007. He received a 15-game ban, but was in the second stage of the league's substance abuse program at the time of the incident.
It’s tough to find statistics that show that off-field incidents, such as a drunk driving charges, are directly correlated with any reduction in performance — both by the team or the individual — or in a team's business endeavors.
But drunk driving is a major concern in American culture, and baseball is America's pastime, so it begs the question as to whether there should be some measures taken regardless of the lack of empirical data.
Should Major League Baseball institute a stricter DUI penalty? Share your thoughts below.
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