Twenty-seven percent of NFL players' arrests that have taken place since Roger Goodell replaced Paul Tagliabue as commissioner have been for DUIs. And unfortunately, some have resulted in death — the Dallas Cowboys' Jerry Brown was killed last December when his teammate, Josh Brent, flipped and crashed his car.
With a minimum salary of $405,000, even the lowliest backup can afford a cab after imbibing excessively, but for some reason they don't.
On Wednesday, it was announced that the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) made a deal with Uber. So maybe, just maybe, this will reduce some of the tragic incidents that we read about. The car-sharing startup will offer every NFL player a personalized keychain card containing credits that can be used to summon a high-end ride in any city where Uber is offered, which alas, leaves out the Bucs, as Uber is not available (yet) in Tampa.
As has been widely reported, Uber won't do business in Tampa because of the $50 minimum fee for limos and other premium cars imposed by Hillsborough County's Public Transportation Commission (PTC). It's a rule that a lot of people in the area want to eliminate (such as state Sen. Jeff Brandes). PTC Chair Victor Crist told CL that he would be open to holding a hearing on whether that fee should be decreased, though nothing is currently scheduled.
But Tampa is not the only NFL city where Uber isn't available; the alternative car service is only on the ground in 17 of the NFL's 31 cities.
"Uber prides itself on finding creative solutions to difficult challenges and being able to use our platform to create a safer environment for players and their communities was a natural fit," said Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick in a press release issued Wednesday. "Many professional athletes love and have used Uber organically so this was a great opportunity to help raise awareness about our technology while helping the NFLPA tackle a serious issue."
"The NFLPA is committed to serving our membership both on and off the field," said NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. "We view the partnership with Uber as an innovative way for players to have access to professional transportation while also pledging to each other, to their families and to the community to make responsible decisions."
The NFLPA has a phone-based car service in place right now, and reports say that option for transportation will still exist.
Nearly every NFL team seemingly has at least one DUI arrest per season. In July, cornerback Eric Wright was arrested in Los Angeles on a charge of suspicion of driving under the influence. The Bucs traded him to San Francisco a week later.