DWI, Ratliff and the NFL
Just a little over a month afterJosh Brent, Dallas Cowboys nose tackle, was arrested in Irving, Texas, on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter after killing one of his teammates in a collision in Dallas, Jay Ratliff, a Dallas Cowboy nose tackle, has also been arrested for DUI.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Jay Ratliff had a collision with a tractor Trailer earlier Monday morning at 12:30 a.m. The accident occurred on State Highway 114 near Park Boulevard. Ratliff’s Ford F150 pickup hit the trailer then hit a barrier on the highway. According to police, Ratliff was not injured.
After the accident Ratliff was arrested and taken to the Grapevine jail where he posted a $500 bond for his release. Grapevine police report that he failed a field sobriety test and refused to submit to a breathalyzer test. After the DUI arrest Grapevine police requested a warrant to draw his blood. Results are not yet available but will be available when the toxicology results are returned.
Ratliff’s agent could not be reached for comment and the Dallas Cowboys’ organization also did not comment.
Ratliff is a four-time Pro Bowler. He has been with the Cowboys’ team for eight years, although he was injured this season and did not play for ten games. He had hernia surgery in December of this year.
Jerry Jones has had positive statements about Ratliff and his play commenting recently that he was an outstanding player who “has given everything he’s ever had to the Dallas Cowboys.” A year ago Ratliff signed a 5 year, $40 million contract extension with $18 million guaranteed payment. His current contract will expire in 2017.
DUI- Should the NFL do more?
With the arrest of Ratliff we can expect more conversation about whether or not the NFL is doing enough to reduce drunk driving. Many claim the NFL, who is simply the player’s employer, can do little to control the behavior of their employees. Critics have argued that the fines of approximately $50,000, which is the current punishment, are too low to act as an actual deterrent.
Suggestions have ranged from a two-game to one year suspension. Others argue the simplest solution may be to install an ignition interlock device on a player’s car. The NFL currently offers a ride program for all NFL players, no questions asked.
Is DUI in the NFL a significant problem? Obviously any drunk driving is too much, but on average 13 NFL players per year are arrested for DUI, which is lower than the general public.
If Ratliff is convicted he will face severe DUI penalties. Texas refers to drunk driving as driving while intoxicated or DWI. DWI penalties in Texas and throughout the state include the following:
- Fines not to exceed $2,000
- Confinement in the County Jail for a term of not less the 72 hours nor more than six (6) months.
- If there was an open container of alcohol in your car when arrested, the minimum term of confinement is six (6) days in the county jail.
- Texas law mandates that a judge order not less than 24 hours or more than 100 hours.
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