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DUI for Baseball: Should Major League Baseball Impose Stiffer Penalties?



Should Major League Baseball be fining players for DUI? According to NESN, it has the most lenient policy of all professional sports regarding drunk driving, and possibly the biggest problem. Within the past year, six Major League Baseball players have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, Shin-Soo Choo and Austin Kearns of the Cleveland Indians, Coco Crisp of the Oakland A's, Derek Lowe of the Atlanta Braves, and Adam Kennedy of the Seattle Mariners give this year's contingent of accused drunk drivers a decidedly American League flavor. And yet not one of them has received any suspension as a result.

DUIs for NBA

Contrast this to the NBA, which suspended two players in 2008 and one in 2009. Carmelo Anthony, one of the NBA's biggest stars, encountered his DUI problems during the off-season. No problem, said the Denver Nuggets. He was suspended for the first two games of the season. NFL teams are prohibited from suspending players for DUI due to the union contract. Nonetheless, Braylon Edwards, suited up for the New York Jets after his DUI, but was not allowed to start. Tougher DUI policies have been proposed for the NFL.

One Too Many DUIs

Some of these incidents cannot be categorized as just "one too many." The Cleveland Indians' Shin-Soo Choo's breathalyzer test registered .201 alcohol content. Ohio law makes it a crime to drive with an alcohol content of .08 or higher. The Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera was previously three times above Michigan's legal limit for driving and was involved in a domestic assault with his wife in 2009, according to ESPN. Coco Crisp of the Oakland A's was cited for drunk driving and driving with an expired license. The Braves' Derek Lowe allegedly raced another driver down Atlanta's Peachtree Road before being pulled over.

Generally after such an incident, the ballclub's general manager makes a statement assuring the public that the team takes this behavior very seriously. Then the player makes a statement apologizing. If DUIs continue to involve baseball players at this rate, such traditional responses to these infractions may prove insufficient to satisfy the public at large.