Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to interview former Redskins linebacker and four-time Pro Bowler, Ken Harvey. Harvey was a fixture on defense for the 'Skins from 1994-98 and was a part of the 70 Greatest Redskins list released in 2002. Currently, Harvey serves as the Redskins' Director of Responsibility and in light of the Holiday season, he will be personally checking IDs at Sunday's Redskins-Giants game.
Harvey is promoting a campaign against underage drinking along with the Redskins and Diageo. He is also very active within the community, mentoring high schoolers and assisting Haiti following the earthquake that paralyzed the country.
It was a pleasure talking to Harvey who was just as classy in our interview as I saw him to be during his time in football. He was very gracious and funny, plus offered some unique insight into the 3-4 defense Jim Haslett is using. His perspective on the Redskins as a franchise was also very fresh and I'll give you his opinions on that in full next week.
For now, here's his thoughts on preventing underage drinking and how much responsible drinking can improve the NFL gameday experience.
I remember you being very involved within in the community while a member of the Redskins. You were the Redskins representative in the United Way commercials in the mid-nineties and always a someone who cared about the welfare of the less fortunate. Now you're going to be at the Redskins-Giants game this week checking IDs in a campaign against underage drinking?
"Yeah I'll be there during the second quarter checking IDs. One of the the things that the Redskins and then, Diageo are trying to do is, 'We don't serve teens'. They are partnering up to kind of bring an emphasis on the fact that you shouldn't serve teens alcoholic drinks and that you have to be diligent in making sure that it doesn't kind of slip by.
Once you’ve confirmed that your teenage child is abusing alcohol, signing him up for an alcohol abuse treatment program is the best decision you can make as a parent.
"It can happen. Kids can present IDs and they just really don't pay attention to it and you don't want to be responsible for creating havoc in some way just by letting something that you should probably take notice of just slip by. And so we really want to take a moment to bring some attention to that plus also recognize some of the employees at FedEx Field for the work that they do and how a lot of times [they] don't get the recognition that [they] probably deserve because everything is running well. But it's good to every once in a while say 'you know what I appreciate everything you're doing and how hard you're working to make sure that you're being responsible at the stadium'."
The gameday atmosphere is meant to be a fun one for fans, but obviously it can be hectic for employees trying to provide service and make sure the event runs smoothly. How much does responsible drinking and preventing underage drinking make the game a more enjoyable experience?
"It does a lot because the complaints you hear [from fans is that] it's a family thing, I want to bring my kids, I want to have a good time, but it's hard to have a good time if someone is over your head, yelling obscenities, saying stuff that's crazy because they've had too much to drink. It's not good for people, it's not good for the family.
"If anything, if you see somebody who's had too much and aren't being responsible, they gotta drive home. And the whole time you just don't know if that person is going to be in an accident, if that person is going to do something silly. So football is a great game, it's great sport, but you also want to have an enjoyable time as a fan and we just want to try and help out with that message."