The Denver Broncos expressed anger, frustration and embarrasment following the drunk driving arrests of two of their top lieutenants, Matt Russell, director of player personnel and Tom Heckert, director of pro personnel. Now that the initial emotions have subsided, the discipline will be handed down.
According to the Denver Post, Heckert will be suspended from the team for one month. He will serve his suspension without pay. Russell will be suspended indefinitely without pay. The discipline handed down from the Broncos is likely in lieu of suspensions by the National Football League (NFL) (as executives and coaches are subject to the league’s personal conduct policy). It remains to be seen whether the league will include additional sanctions.
The Broncos suspensions are yet another example of the workplace sanctions that can occur when someone is arrested (but not convicted) of drunk driving. The higher the profile of the position, the more likely an offending employee will be disciplined.
In the meantime, Broncos president John Elway explained that they will focus on making sure that everyone within the organization realizes the importance of making responsible choices with alcohol and how DUI arrests cannot be tolerated. At the same time, the Broncos will be committed to making sure that Heckert and Russell get the appropriate attention they need to address their respective alcohol problems.
Meanwhile, they both face criminal charges. Russell reportedly had a .246 blood alcohol content before his arrest, and Heckert had a .162 BAC when he was taken into custody. They also face administrative penalties such as the loss of their licenses for a period of time, and the prospect of having ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.
Source: DenverPost.com, Broncos’ DUI arrests lead to suspensions for Matt Russell, Tom Heckert, July 16, 2013