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Shutdown Corner

Kenny Britt’s DUI arrest, and some interesting NFL crime facts

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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Here we go again... (Getty Images)

At this point, are we even surprised when it happens? Well, we shouldn't be. As first reported by radio station 104.5 The Zone, Tennessee Titans receiver Kenny Britt was arrested for a DUI at Fort Campbell, Ky., on Friday morning. According to the initial report, Brit and teammate Tommie Campbell were bringing a female soldier back to the army base when they were stopped at the security gate.

It is Britt's eighth incident involving police since he became the first Rutgers player ever selected in the first round of the NFL draft in 2009.

"I'll be the first to admit I got caught in some difficult circumstances, and made some bad decisions in my past," Britt told the Nashville Tennessean in May. "But all that changed me as a person, and I learned from it and got stronger from it."

"He has a different view of life," teammate Nate Washington said of Britt just a few weeks ago. "He's spending a lot of time with his family and with his teammates, staying out of unnecessary trouble. I really don't worry about any of these guys. They understand that it's a job now for them and not school days. You can't have any wild fun now. You're grown men."

Britt eluded NFL punishment for two incidents that happened during the 2011 lockout -- in late August after the new collective bargaining agreement was ratified, Britt met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who told Britt that as long as he stayed on the straight and narrow, he was getting a mulligan.

In April of 2011, he was arrested in New Jersey after driving his car more than 20 mph over the speed limit in a 50 mph zone. He was charged with eluding an officer and hindering apprehension, and the charges were reduced to a misdemeanor and a fine. Just one day after the charges were reduced, Britt was spotted by two police officers at a car wash in Hoboken. The officers smelled marijuana and identified Britt as the source. He was handcuffed after police wrestled him to the ground, and it was believed that a friend of Britt's may have disposed of a suspicious cigar. The charges included resisting arrest. Before that, there were other incidents through his NFL career -- traffic warrants, driving without a license, failing to pay promised bail for a friend, and a bar fight in which eventually, no charges were brought against him.

"The commissioner restated his expectation that Britt will be responsible for his actions going forward and noted that future incidents will lead to appropriate discipline," NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello said at the time.

Well, here we are. Britt will almost certainly face a multiple-game suspension when this all shakes out, and the Titans selected Baylor receiver Kendall Wright to pick up the slack in this year's draft. The thought was that the Titans needed more weapons as Britt recovered from multiple knee surgeries, but there are now other concerns.

In a larger sense, Goodell will have to do something reasonable about the NFL's recent crime wave -- since Super Bowl XVLI ended on the evening of Feb. 5, there have been 27 different arrests of NFL players. In the last week alone, Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (DUI), St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn (DUI) and Britt (DUI) have all been popped for the same basic offense.

Again, I said reasonable. Not what Goodell usually does, which is to act in haste and with extremism before he gathers all the facts (see Saints, New Orleans), but something concrete and serious and most definitely in partnership with the NFLPA.

Players aren't going to listen to Goodell's "angry patrician uncle" shtick when it comes to changing their lifestyles -- and some won't listen at all -- but a new and more powerful message needs to be sent. Not more punitive, but certainly more powerful.

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