If passed, legislation currently working it way through Congress would make compulsory breathalyzer locks on all regulation-size footballs in the United States. Such locks not only counteract the public interest by making standard what should only be used in extreme cases, such as for running back Cedric Benson, they would create a de facto prohibition.
Proponents of breath ball locks are using cases such as Benson and Javon Kearse, and the sensationalized accounts of their arrests in the media, as an excuse to impose invasive big government tactics into our everyday lives.
Ball carriers with a high blood alcohol content (BAC) are responsible for far more alcohol-related fumbles and premature stumbles on the football field than other impaired players. The average BAC of a drunk fumbler is 0.19, more than twice the legal limit.
By 2005, the NFL had lowered its legal playing limit from 0.10 to 0.08 percent—even though players talking on helmet microphone made more errors and have longer reaction times than players who are legally “drunk” at 0.08 BAC. (In fact, the average BAC in 2005 of an offensive player involved a turnover was 0.17—more that twice the current legal limit.)
At less than 0.08 percent most people don’t exhibit any signs of intoxication. But under “presumptive” laws in almost half of the states, players can be flagged for playing while “impaired” with BAC levels as low as 0.02 percent.
Requiring such low universal standards for using the game ball would encroach upon on way of life. Gone would be the halftime fifth of vodka, the Gatorade on the sideline laced with rum or even the stolen flask from a fan. Hell, Jared Allen’s mind doesn’t even function with a BAC under 0.23.
Citizens wishing to learn more about how ball locks would infringe on our basic and Constitutionally protected civil rights are encouraged to visit breathballfacts.org.