The United States Soccer Federation has hit a rough patch lately.
The United States Women’s National Team recently filed a wage-discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Former USWNT star Abby Wambach on Sunday was arrested on a DUI charge and members of the United States Men’s National Team were publicly critical of the incident.
While there is unrest in the U.S. Soccer Federation household lately, there is a bigger issue at hand — drinking and driving.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 9,967 people died in drunk driving crashes and 290,000 people were injured in such incidents in 2014.
Wambach, thankfully didn’t get hurt or hurt anyone.
Just because she didn’t add to the morbid statistics (that can certainly be decreased or avoided) doesn’t mean what she did was OK. I’ve written before — and continue to strongly feel this way — that athletes are role models. Children look up to them, yet those in the spotlight continue to make bad decisions that not only reflect poorly on them, but set a bad example for the hundreds, thousands or millions of those watching their every move.
I’m talking getting arrested or charged for drug possession, domestic violence, manslaughter or DUI.
Yes, athletes and celebrities are human just like you and I. Yes, humans make mistakes. But mistakes made by athletes and celebrities are magnified because they make millions of dollars and are seen in stadiums, on TVs or in movies.
I’ve had the pleasure of covering a handful of collegiate athletes who have worked hard enough to turn pro. They’ve told me about the myriad of rookie symposiums they have to go through — they’re taught money management, proper social media use, how to avoid confrontation with irritated fans — the whole 9 yards.
Yet they continue to falter and get in trouble, especially when it comes to drinking and getting behind the wheel of a car.
Mike Tyson, Donte Stallworth, Charles Barkley, Dwight Gooden, Jalen Rose .. the list goes on and on.
All of these athletes, Wambach included, certainly have enough money to hail a cab or order an Uber, especially if I do, but they don’t have enough common sense to call a friend, family member or assistant to pick them up if they are too drunk to drive.
Not only are they are putting their reputations at stake, but more importantly, their lives and the lives of others.