Thursday, April 9, 2009


In advance, please forgive the diatribe as there are few things in life, let alone sports, which bring out such ferocity in words.

mitch hedberg on alcoholism - Watch more Funny Videos

The late Mitch Hedberg’s joke obviously brought a chuckle out of the crowd. Yet, the reason for the laughs stems from the absolute truth: alcohol is something people take far too casually.

So, considering some recent news, I wonder if there ever be a day in which society actually takes drunk driving seriously.

We recently saw a seemingly repentant Charles Barkley appreciate the gravity of his error in December and subsequent three-day penance.

Donte’ Stallworth – who, for all we know, might be one of the nicest guys on the planet – can potentially lose his freedom because of a vehicular manslaughter charge after killing a pedestrian while inebriated behind the wheel.

Tonight, we learned that the driver whose minivan struck the car of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart, was drunk. Adenhart’s car careened into a light pole, killing two of the three passengers before he died while undergoing surgery.

Earlier in the day, a videotape of Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain’s DUI arrest last October where he drunkenly assails New Yorkers, city drivers and Yogi Berra.

Sadly, we get worked up for the brief moment before moving on and making Michael Phelps jokes, taking shots at Alex Rodriguez or complaining about some other inconsequential nonsense in the sports media world.

We’ll get upset about the recent news, as we should. Yet, far more should be done. Not by network executives fearing public backlash. Not by a league commissioner whose tenure is being defined by imposing discipline upon players who defy the law. Certainly, action should not be the sole responsibility of law enforcement officials that risk their lives dealing with drunk drivers.

Congress, are you listening?

Before anything else, let it be said that I’m not trying to tell anyone how to live their lives nor am I going to pretend that both of my professions do not benefit from the advertising and sponsorship dollars afforded to them by alcohol companies. However, as tobacco companies get slammed even further by legislators and the new war on drugs wages on the U.S. – Mexico border, this country has a major drinking problem that it seems to ignore as the tragedies pile up.

So, Congress, President Obama and anyone else out there in the legislative branch of our government, while you’re trying to jumpstart the economy, could you feel free to pass some stricter laws against DUI/DWI? The booze lobbyists may have deep pockets, but you can work with them to make sure that the words “please enjoy responsibly” are followed with “or else”. While the concept of “legal limit” is absurd, especially since it varies from state to state, you can enact a strict federal limit and add a rather convincing penalty for reaching it.

Please, let us all look to these recent scenarios, along with the thousands of others that are reported beyond the sports world, and be smart about drinking and driving. Hand over the keys, get in a cab or public transportation or just get bent at home.

Enough is enough.

Say What?!?!: And this isn't just a problem in sports. This report from the San Diego Union-Tribune nearly two years ago still rings true. Sadly.

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