Drunk driving is a problem everywhere and in all walks of life, but it’s a really big problem for the National Football League. The high proportion of its players being involved in DUIs coupled with the popularity of the sport leads to a bunch of bad press and ruined lives. Plus, there’s always strong reaction from fans – mostly disbelief. “Dude, why are you, a millionaire, having to drive yourself anyway?”
On-demand car service Uber is looking to help out. The company has announced a new partnership with the NFL Players Association that will help professional football players find “safe and convenient transportation” during this season. The program kicks off this month.
Uber, a startup that allows those in need of a reliable ride to connect with those who can give a reliable ride, launched back in 2009 and is now in over 40 major cities. In terms of the new NFLPA deal, the Uber Rides program for players will be available in 17 NFL cities.
Why not more? Well, some NFL cities like Miami and Houston have laws barring services like Uber from competing with taxis. Uber is looking to bring their service to those cities as well, but of course, that takes time.
“Uber prides itself on finding creative solutions to difficult challenges and being able to use our platform to create a safer environment for players and their communities was a natural fit,” said Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick. “Many professional athletes love and have used Uber organically so this was a great opportunity to help raise awareness about our technology while helping the NFLPA tackle a serious issue.”
Every NFL player will be issued their own keychain cards with built-in Uber credits on them. They’ll also receive gift cards for friends and family.
“The NFLPA is committed to serving our membership both on and off the field,” said NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. “We view the partnership with Uber as an innovative way for players to have access to professional transportation while also pledging to each other, to their families and to the community to make responsible decisions.”
Honestly, this is just a great deal for both parties involved. A lot of the time, drunk driving arrests are just a massive headache for the NFL – and other times they are a lot more that just an annoyance. Remember Josh Brent? Remember Donte Stallworth? Those amounted to a lot more than a headache.