Commissioner, get serious about DUI

Major League Baseball doesn’t want to address DUI arrests with suspensions as that would mean dealing with a social, not sporting, problem within the rules of the game.

However, this reluctance to suspend is peculiar given that they’ll suspend minor league players for 50 games for smoking marijuana. Most recently in the case of Astro’s prospect Jonathan Singleton. This was Singleton’s second breach of the minor league drug policy but it’s hardly a comparable offence to driving drunk, let alone one that deserves a suspension over the other.

Drunk driving affected the whole of baseball in 2009 when promising young Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, and two others, were killed when the car he was in was struck by a drunk driver. Yet despite this close to home tragedy some players are still deciding to get behind the wheel after drinking.

Drake Britton is the latest in a lengthening list of perpetrators and the second Red Sox player in two spring training’s to be arrested for this offence. All the details of the arrest, and his up to date pitching statistics, can be found in the reports across all the major sites. While they are happy to comment on his numbers or how many fences he collided with, they shy away from making any comments condemning his actions. Salacious details and sneering comments about poor career ERA obviously generate more traffic than any attempt to say something for the social good. A reticence to engage with the issue is symptomatic of the Commissioner’s apathy towards introducing suspensions.

Suspensions are necessary but they won’t be enough. Baseball and it’s teams need to take their role in educating players on this issue as seriously as they take their role on other issues, like performance enhancing drugs.  Recently a number of players have become outspoken advocates of increasing the penalties for cheating by using PEDs, I hope we see a similar chorus of support on the issue of suspensions for players who drive under the influence of alcohol.