San Francisco-based Uber offers an alternative to taxi cabs. The company allows customers to use a smartphone app to summon a driver within minutes. Now, NFL teams including the 49ers and the Raiders will have this service as part of an effort by the league's players association to reduce the number of player DUIs.
"The more that they can use the service, I think that the safer they will be and frankly, the more they can party if they want," explained Ryan Graves, head of operations at Uber.
Between the Super Bowl in February and training camps in July, nine NFL players were arrested on DUI-related charges.
The Uber partnership will give the players a $200 credit as incentive to use the service, but sports psychologist and 49ers consultant Dr. Harry Edwards says it's unlikely to have a major impact, "Because a player that's too drunk to drive is unlikely to be sober enough and contact enough in terms of his mental faculties, to sit down and call a car to come pick him up."
Edwards says the league takes the issue seriously, but says it's hard to change a culture of behavior. "You go out and you pay $85,000, $95,000, $125,000 for an automobile because you want to show up in it, not leave it at home when it comes time to go into the club," he told ABC7 News.
But veteran 49er kicker Phil Dawson hopes players will take advantage of the new deal. "In an ideal world, you'd like to think everybody can handle their business in a professional way and be responsible. But obviously sometimes, things get a little out of control and help is needed," he said.
The Uber-NFL partnership kicked off Tuesday and will roll out throughout the month.