Reason For Sudden DUI Epidemic Among Athletes?

Via Rick @ DEADSPIN, Howie Long’s kid, Kyle Long, was popped for DUI Sunday morning. Long was cited for driving the wrong way down a one way street and failing a field test.

Charles Barkley DUI

(For once, Chuck lost a lottery OUTSIDE a casino)

Long also recently left FSU, where he was a top pitching prospect. He remains a prospect though and will no doubt eventually land in pro (uh, he’s 6-11 and throws 90+).

Another day, another athlete’s DUI. You would think that high profile sports figures would learn. (FYI, Scottsdale police confirmed today Charles Barkley was twice over the legal limit when he was cited New Year’s Eve.)

Yeah, we all saw and heard those DUI-deterrent PSAs during the holidays: “YOU WILL GO TO JAIL.” So with all that government-sponsored advertising, and other athletes constantly getting caught and ostracized, why do the DUIs from sports celebs keep coming?

I think I have a pretty good idea.

No one is condoning drinking and driving. And NO BREATHING HUMAN ever will. But safe to say that 95% of you reading this could’ve gotten a DUI over the years with the alcohol contained in your system while operating a vehicle.

It’s clear that getting a DUI now is kinda like winning the lottery. Your number just comes up. The vast majority of vehicles on the road after 10pm on a weekend night contain drivers who could be classified as DUI-worthy. But only a tiny percentage of those drivers ever get caught.

That though is changing, as laws get tougher (see Illinois), and enforcement is stepped up.

Now, in the old days, I have no doubt that many, many celebrities were turned loose by cops though they may have been impaired while driving.

But those days are obviously over.

The reason: If an officer let’s a celebrity (or ANYONE) go, and that person ends up killing himself or someone else, the officer is almost certainly liable. So because of the insanely-litigious society we now inhabit, if a cop pulls you over and has any inkling that you’re impaired, you’re going to the cooler. Even if you’re the 12th man for the Memphis Gristle.

The thing that bothers me about DUI enforcement is that if authorities are so concerned about eliminating drinking and driving, why not set up check points outside every single NFL stadium every week after games? Or the interstate highways after 11p on a Saturday night?

You’ll never see either happen. But why not?

The cynical answer is, if DUIs were eliminated, there’d be a lot less work in the courts, and a lot less in fines collected by local governments.

And the good folks in Golden, Colorado might not be so anxious to advertise on NFL broadcasts either. Or drive to the game.

Ugly thoughts, eh?