San Francisco-based mobile car service Uber announced it’s teaming-up with the NFL Players’ Association to provide alternative transportation to players, while dissuading them from drinking and driving.
Uber and players’ representatives said they’re initially providing players with a credit to try the service, which operates in 20 U.S. cities as well as internationally.
“Each player will roughly get about $200 worth of credit on their initial launch to Uber,” said George Atallah, spokesman for the players’ association.
The program is part of the union’s push to cut down on the number of player’s caught drinking and driving, yielding those unflattering mug shots or courtroom video. Atallah said several former players who work at the association use Uber, and reached out to the company to team-up.
“Overall we’re looking at resolving and trying to combat changing player behavior around DUIs,” Atallah said.
Uber allows people to use smart phones and other mobile technology to summon a town car or limousine.
“We’re essentially going to be providing transportation alternatives for players,” said Ryan Graves of Uber. “Whether they’re going to and from a game, or to and from a bar, or to and from home.”
The players association said many of its players currently use Uber, and were excited about the partnership.
“We wanted to partner with a company that could not only provide a service,” said Zak DeOssie, a player representative with the New York Giants,” but also provide a technology and messaging platform that makes it easy to promote responsibility to our players and fans.”
Dr. Harry Edwards, a sociologist who provides player counseling to the San Francisco 49ers said cracking down on drinking and driving in the NFL is a sobering task.
“These guys go out and buy these $80,000, $90,000, $100,000 automobiles,” Edwards said. “So that when they get ready to go to the club, get ready to go to the party, get ready to show up at the social situation, they don’t want to show up in a taxi cab.”
Edwards said in addition to car services, the NFL needs to continue offering alcohol counseling and seminars to young players to drive home the message.
“To get them to understand that once you start drinking, that $85,000 automobile is not luxury transportation,” said Edwards. “It’s a 3,000 pound deadly weapon.”