NFL player faces DUI; athlete misconduct sparks debate

On Feb. 26, New York Jets linebacker Dylan Donahue was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated, or DWI, for driving the wrong way in the Lincoln Tunnel and crashing into a bus injuring 15 people in the process.

Donahue’s recent driving felony charges have sparked a debate about what should be done to prevent such incidents. Photo from NJ.com

In addition, ESPN reported on Monday, March 19, that Donahue is facing a driving under influence, or DUI, charge from May 2017, after he was drafted by the Jets. Apparently, he and an unidentified passenger crashed into a parked truck because Donahue was looking at his phone and didn’t see the truck until it was too late. However, the police smelled alcohol on Donahue’s breath and discovered that his blood alcohol level was 0.137; 0.057 above the legal limit of 0.08.

Hill Top Preparatory School senior, athlete and sports fan Ryan Wellock, despite not following a lot of sports, believes that driving misconduct in general is a matter that should be taken very seriously.

“I personally think that the law should have a stricter stance on preventing driving misconduct and those who drive under the influence or even other forms of driving misconduct should have more repercussions that aren’t up for up for debate or a police officer’s discretion,” Wellock said. “Especially in the case that the driver has a previous record of driving misconduct.”

After hearing about Donahue’s DWI and DUI incidents, Wellock believes that people who view athletes as role models may need to see them from a different point of view.

“I feel as though people who watch sports typically see athletes they like as role models and see them in an all-positive light,” Wellock said. “I feel that they don’t see athletes as regular people and that they’re human, they make mistakes and have ups and downs in their life.

Sophomore biology major, Rachel Sweeney has heard about Donahue’s DWI and DUI and believes that the reasons athletes get involved in such felonies is because they view themselves as gods. What she means by that is that athletes think they can do whatever they want and get away with it without regard of the consequences.

A couple people have suggested that perhaps it’s time for fans to see athletes as regular people instead of separate from humanity. Photo from NorthJersey.com

“They can care less because they are athletes,” Sweeney said. “They have the skills and the money to ignore the people they injured or killed.”

Sweeney is a fan of athletes such as UFC fighters and NHL players. While none of the athletes she follows have gotten involved in driving felonies, Sweeny takes them very seriously.

“I care about a DUI because it’s complete arrogance on their part; that they can do whatever they want because they are athletes,” Sweeney said. “People need to realize that athletes aren’t gods. They’re human and they make mistakes like us.”

Criminology professor Dr. Vivian Smith believes that one reason people, especially athletes, would make such decisions is through rational choice theory. This theory states that humans think about their decisions and outweigh the pros and cons before making said decisions.

“It assumes that individuals conduct a cost-benefit analysis to any action, and most importantly that the decisions made are solely the responsibility of the actor,” Smith said.

However, Smith pointed out that this theory is flawed because it doesn’t consider the circumstances in which the person made their decision.

Even though driving misconduct is a serious problem, athletes should also be acknowledged as people that get involved in such incidents.

“When athletes disobey driving protocols, what it says to me is that they don’t care that the decision they are about to make can possibly harm people,” Sweeney said.

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