x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

MLB should pull over and reassess DUI policy

Major League Baseball needs to take a harder stand on stars getting pulled over for Driving UNder the Influence, regardless of what the players' union may say.

Major League Baseball has been fortunate to avoid some of the embarrassing off-the-field incidents suffered by other US professional sports.

Both the NBA and NFL have had episodes of gunplay, domestic abuse and other violent crimes, but baseball has been relatively free of such behaviour.

But just five weeks into the season, baseball has had a disturbing number of incidents of players Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcohol. Since the start of spring training, baseball has had six players arrested for suspicion of drunken driving.

Choo Shin-soo, of the Cleveland Indians, was only the latest case, following Coco Crisp, Magglio Ordonez, Austin Kearns, Adam Kennedy and Derek Lowe.

Six players do not constitute an epidemic, nor is it certain that each player is guilty of the charges.

But it seems highly unlikely that any of them will face disciplinary action for their transgressions, even though the standard player contract allows for such action for "not conforming to high standards of personal conduct".

It may well be that teams - and MLB as a whole - do not wish to incur the wrath of the Players' Association, which would surely contest any sort of disciplinary action.

But something is seriously wrong in a sport where a manager is disciplined for violating the game's policy on social media - Ozzie Guillen, who has an ever-active Twitter account, was slapped with a two-game suspension - while driving under the influence escape without any punishment whatsoever.

sports@thenational.ae