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Why NFL Players Drive Drunk Even Though They Could Afford A Cab

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China

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Why NFL Players Drive Drunk Even Though They Could Afford A Cab

by Nate Jackson
Nate Jackson played for the Denver Broncos for six years and is currently writing a book about life in the NFL, to be published by Harper Collins.

As a football player, my life was mostly spent in captivity. I essentially lived at the facility and under the banner of my team. Often I didn’t go out on my own for days or weeks. To and fro I shuffled in sweats and a tee-shirt with my playbook in my hand. I didn’t speak with anyone who wasn’t affiliated with the team. I rarely saw a woman. I was in constant pain. And I was edgy. Every day I flipped the switch to summon my absolute best athletic performance. After practice I sat in a chair and listened to the reasons why it wasn’t good enough. Once a game was over, or a camp, or a season, they said: “Now don’t go out there and get yourself in trouble. Be smart. Represent yourself and your team. Don’t do anything stupid.”

Of course this is a form of “good parenting”. But like the well-intentioned admonitions of good parents and bad lovers everywhere, it often produces the event it was intended to prevent. Well, ****, if you think I should stay out of trouble, I should probably go find me some.

And I’d venture out to find it. But my life was narrow. My social skills were bad. I wasn’t equipped for normal interaction. When I went out, I felt awkward. What could these people possibly be talking about? The only thing that bridged the gap was alcohol. It brought me closer to the humans I had lost contact with as a pro athlete. It allowed me to let my guard down. And I desperately needed it.

The booze greased the squeaky wheel in my meathead brain. Pretty soon I was having actual conversations. And not just about football! Then people were handing me shots. Girls were grabbing me. The bartenders pulled us behind the bar and let us pour drinks. Everyone was singing and smiling and life was good. It was a great party. It was always a great party. Because there was so much pent up. But time got away from us. We were drunker than expected. Then the lights came on and the bar closed. So where to now? And how get there?

We were downtown, a 30-minute drive from the suburban family home I lived in alone. That’s the norm in the NFL: buy a place out in the burbs where rich people live. Players are encouraged to live in these areas and discouraged from living downtown with their peers. Too many distractions. But living in the burbs made it tougher for me to get home when I was drunk, and increased the likelihood that I’d end up driving. It's no problem leaving your car downtown and taking a cab if its easy to come back and get it the next day. But when you’re 30 minutes from home with a meeting the next morning, well then, there’s a choice: Do I risk getting a DUI or risk being late for meetings? It seems easy. But If I wake up without my car, I may be late. Nearly an unforgivable mistake in the NFL.

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Henry

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As a football player, my life was mostly spent in captivity. I essentially lived at the facility and under the banner of my team. Often I didn’t go out on my own for days or weeks. To and fro I shuffled in sweats and a tee-shirt with my playbook in my hand. I didn’t speak with anyone who wasn’t affiliated with the team. I rarely saw a woman. I was in constant pain. And I was edgy. Every day I flipped the switch to summon my absolute best athletic performance. After practice I sat in a chair and listened to the reasons why it wasn’t good enough.
Sounds a lot like being a dad. :)
 

Califan007

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It's no problem leaving your car downtown and taking a cab if its easy to come back and get it the next day. But when you’re 30 minutes from home with a meeting the next morning, well then, there’s a choice: Do I risk getting a DUI or risk being late for meetings?
How about just not going out drinking the night before meetings? lol...Crazy, I know. Save it for Fridays (and Saturdays during the offseason).
 

Lanky Livingston

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How about just not going out drinking the night before meetings? lol...Crazy, I know. Save it for Fridays (and Saturdays during the offseason).
:idea:

Hilarious how this isn't even an option. DON'T DRINK, MORON! Sheesh...
 

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