Cowboys address Jay Ratliff’s drunken driving arrest
It is the second high-profile player arrest involving drunken driving in two months for the Dallas Cowboys, who also had to deal defensive lineman Josh Brent’s arrest on more serious charges. Although the statement comes after nearly a week’s of silence on Jay Ratliff’s arrest, it goes to show that the Dallas Cowboys are taking the DUI’s very seriously and probably still have to review on the compliance of the league’s drunken driving policy.
“Having recently experienced the most tragic of circumstances regarding this issue, we, as an organization, understand the ultimate consequences of driving while impaired,” Dallas Cowboys player development consultant Calvin Hill released in a statement by the team. “We know that one incident is too many. The critical goal is to effect the decision making process in the hours before the wrong decision is made.”
Jay Ratliff was arrested late-night last Tuesday following a car accident at Grapevine after his pickup truck crashed in an 18-wheeler. Although Jay Ratliff initially refused to take the breathanalyzer test, the police were still able to determine that he was driving impaired after obtaining a warrant for a blood sample.
Calvin Hill indicated that the Dallas Cowboys had been in contact with Jay Ratliff and will monitor the legal process following his arrest. The Dallas Cowboys are also looking at ways to improve their handling of drunken driving incidents and encourage their personnel to abide by NFL’s guidelines regarding player behavior.
‘Our player assistance programs in the areas of preventing incidents such as these are at the highest level in professional sports,” continued Calvin Hill, “but we are always looking to do better and for ways to improve.”
The NFL has a number of programs encouraging safe drinking. Annual life skills sessions, including instruction on drinking have been made mandatory by the NFL for each team, and any repetitive player violations are strictly dealt by the league. Additionally, the NFL Players Association has a program that offers players who plan on drinking transportation for the day or a ride home.
Drunken driving became a hot issue for the league following Josh Brent’s arrest on Dec 8. as he was charged with intoxicated manslaughter, in the death of Dallas Cowboys practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown. Josh Brent was driving impaired at the time, with Jerry Brown in the passenger seat when he crashed the car. Although Josh Brent escaped blazing car and dragged out this teammate from the wreckage, Jerry Brown succumbed to injuries sustained in the collision.
A few day after Josh Brent’s accident, Calvin Hill had suggested that Dallas Cowboys players’ should install a device called SafeKey, to ensure the driver is not impaired before he operates the car.
“We will continue to draw upon the best expertise and resources available, both internally and from outside the organization,” Calvin Hill added to the statement on Monday, “to work toward being the best in the areas of education, prevention, and effecting the right decisions.”