Public perception may be that the NFL has had an arrest problem this offseason, but players aren’t the only ones involved — in less than 24 hours, news has surfaced that not one, but two executives, both from the Denver Broncos, have been arrested for DUI.
Tom Heckert, who was recently hired as the Broncos’ director of pro personnel, was arrested June 11 in Parker, Colorado for DUI and careless driving, the Associated Press reported.
“Tom’s actions are obviously part of a disturbing pattern of irresponsible behavior that we are aggressively addressing within our organization,” the Broncos said in a statement Tuesday night.
“One member of the Broncos arrested for driving under the influence is one too many. This type of behavior puts innocent people at risk and cannot be tolerated. While our team and league supply plenty of resources to prevent these situations, it is clear we need to do better.”
Yesterday, CBS4 in Denver reported that Broncos director of player personnel Matt Russell was arrested Saturday night on suspicion of DUI after he was involved in an accident in Frisco, and minutes later, hit a parked police car in Breckenridge.
The officer inside the vehicle was injured and treated at a local hospital. Russell faces charges of DUI, driving with an open container, careless driving resulting in injury, and failure to show proof of insurance.
The Broncos issued a similar statement Monday regarding Russell’s arrest, calling his behavior “unacceptable and very troubling.”
“We expect better from all employees, particularly those in leadership positions. These allegations completely contradict the values and beliefs of the Broncos regarding social responsibility.”
Heckert most recently served as general manager of the Cleveland Browns.
“I am extremely disappointed that in my short time with the Broncos I have made such a serious mistake,” Heckert said in statement issued by the team.
“My actions last month have brought embarrassment to the organization, and I fully understand the consequences that are involved. I am truly sorry and take complete responsibility for this situation.”
“Although I have let many people down, I will learn from this and work toward regaining the trust that I have lost.”
Of course the concern here is what type of culture they’re creating in the Broncos’ front office. The fact that two executives, who work so closely together and are held to the same standard as players in the NFL’s personal-conduct policy, could act so irresponsibly, is troubling.
But it’s also the reality of the position. Perhaps players aren’t the only ones in need of some offseason support.