Why The NFL’s PLAYER PROTECT Program is a TOTAL FAIL

An article by ESPN’s Scoop Jackson, entitled “Drinking, Driving, and Ignoring the NFL’s Help” exposes one of the two reasons that PLAYER PROTECT is not only a FAIL, but was DOOMED from the start. The names of players and coaches in Scoop’s article will be familiar to those who follow us on facebook. News about how the PLAYER PROTECT program works is difficult to come by. The NFL doesn’t say much about it, and as I learn more, I can’t say I blame them!

The unfortunate truth is that PLAYER PROTECT isThere is always lots going on here! nothing more than a covert TAXI operation. It’s a free ride home that nobody is ALLOWED to know about. The secrecy is an aspect I’ll get to in a minute. Now, I believed from the scant descriptions in print that PLAYER PROTECT was a true Designated Driver program which would take the player home in their vehicle. It isn’t. It’s just a ride. Worse than that, it’s a free ride for a rich guy!

What Scoop reports that players are saying is true for many people. You don’t want to leave your expensive car in the bar parking lot overnight and have to go back the next day. This is very frequently a HUGE FACTOR for people with nice cars and busy lives in making the decision to drive drunk instead of taking a cab.

Seriously, it was IDIOCY to think that a free cab ride home would be an option that would interest these guys. Asking them to bail on their car isn’t going to work. PLAYER PROTECT needed to get that ride home too. Since it didn’t, nobody was interested.

Why doesn’t the NFL realize that there are hundreds of Designated Driver Services across America they could partner with? Give the players and staff a card that gives them a safe ride home IN THEIR VEHICLE. There are so many companies that will take a drunk player AND his car home. A lot of these companies offer gift certificates and memberships. And I am CERTAIN those who don’t would be willing to create a program to cover an entire team AND staff.

The other serious problem with PLAYER PROTECT is the way the NFL makes a player feel like he is doing something wrong just by using the service. “Don’t worry. Nobody will know you used it” and “I don’t want to Hear who is using it” are NOT the right messages to send. But then, the equivalent of a rich guy taking a free cab ride IS pretty embarrassing. I don’t know what they were thinking when they put this program together.

Instead of being embarrassed about trying to deal with a serious situation, The NFL needs to accept that drunk driving is the most consistent embarrassment they face. They drink in groups and they drive as individuals. The NFL needs to get serious about drunk driving and making somebody feel bad about not driving drunk is the wrong way to do it.

The NFL needs to partner with REAL Designated Driver Services and accept that players who use such a service are heroes, not embarrassments. Players using the program should be given additional perks, maybe more seats for family and friends, or maybe a contribution to the player’s favorite charity. Any person who uses a Designated Driver Service is protecting not only themselves, but the community they drive in. In fact, they could call the new program COMMUNITY PROTECT.

That’s it. PLAYER PROTECT needs to be scratched and replaced with COMMUNITY PROTECT. Because one of the realities the NFL refuses to accept is, the numerous drunk drivers among them are endangering communities across the country. They NEED to handle this better.

Thanks for the scoop, Scoop!

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Allen Porter
Dedicated to teaching and inspiring the prevention of drunk driving.

7 Responses

  1. Edward j Varela
    Edward j Varela July 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm |

    http://Www.jonboysinc.com our mission is to stop drunk driving. Any exposure would help

    Edward j Varela
    JONBOY’S INC
    1-888-9-JONBOY

    Reply
  2. Edward j Varela
    Edward j Varela June 24, 2011 at 10:01 pm |

    Jonboysinc.com

    We are on a mission to stop drunk driving. Over a thousand transported, and going strong

    http://Www.jonboysinc.com

    Reply
  3. PMG
    PMG February 22, 2011 at 11:50 am |

    They should learn to run this so called company as a company.

    Reply
  4. a little puzzled
    a little puzzled December 17, 2010 at 5:53 pm |

    I have used player protect on several occasions and I’m not even in the NFL, I’m just “family & friends”. It is more of a limousine service than a taxi. They pick you up at your home take you to your destination, wait outside, take you to however many more destination follow; wait outside and safely return you to your home when your evening is done. I am not affiliated with the company in any way shape or form, I just felt your article was a bit inflammatory and lacking some facts. Further more the reason the staff is saying they don’t care who is using the service is based on the idea of players feeling like the job already keeps a 1984 big brother like eye on them. The other less talked about reasons are people’s private dealings i.e. if a coach knows that a married player takes a Car Service @ 2am to anywhere other than his house assumptions start to grow wings. These players are trying to hold on to some form of autonomy in a league where that is completely frowned upon. Player Protect does prevent drunk driving if the user is honest about the likelihood of their alcohol consumption.
    I agree PP should implement a concierge driver program incase a player does get drunk and does not want to leave their car over night.

    Reply
  5. John
    John October 2, 2010 at 6:11 pm |

    You should do your research before commenting. PlayerProtect is a private company and not an NFL ride home program. It is apparent you don’t know much, not even how to google a company so maybe you should stick to childrens fiction instead of attempting to write about stuff you don’t know. it is ignorance like this that leads to peolpe causing a panic!

    Reply

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