The NFL and Domestic Violence

 

BY NATASHA GEIGER

 

Storm clouds loomed over Baltimore, Maryland on Sept. 8. TMZ had leaked the “lost” video clip of Ray Rice punching his then fiancé Janay Palmer in a casino elevator. The disturbing clip once and for all fully unveiled the alarming domestic violence that occurred in the Rice’s relationship. And, maybe disappointingly, it revealed the gross negligence of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league office.

The same day TMZ posted the video, the Baltimore Ravens released Rice. Not surprisingly, shortly after the NFL suspended him indefinitely. The Ravens and the league’s actions seemed too little too late, as news surrounding the alleged incident broke seven months ago.

On Feb. 19, 2014, a video surfaced of Rice dragging Palmer from an elevator; this was the same tape that caught Rice striking Palmer. It was not until March 26, however, that Goodell publicly addressed the video and assault accusations surrounding the Ravens running back. Ironically enough, Rice was indicted the next day on aggravated assault charges. Then, four months later, following the NFL’s investigation and interview with both Janay and Ray Rice, Goodell reacted to the events and suspended Rice for two games. With such a light suspension, many questioned the NFL and Goodell’s integrity and judgment on the matter.

The NFL did admit on Aug. 28, to their misstep with Rice and announced plans on constructing a new domestic violence policy. One way in which the NFL intends on changing their domestic violence policy is that they will continue educating people on domestic violence and sexual assault, both players and non-players alike. Secondly, the league will offer evaluations, treatment and family support for both the victim and the aggressor of domestic violence.

The recent weeks have been packed full of Goodell being questioned about his ethics and the NFL’s true understanding of domestic violence. As many want to forget about the recent Ray Rice extravaganza, it will not disappear anytime soon.

Personally, I believe that Goodell mishandled the case to an extreme. He should have taken a firm and immediate stance, instead of sitting on his hands and then tagging him with a two-game suspension. No one deserves to slide by on a charge like this, even if he is a 40 million dollar player for one of the NFL’s top franchises. Status, ego and money should never matter in a case like this. But it seems that Goodell was only thinking about the good of the shield.

Domestic violence is nothing new to the NFL; players in recent years have been suspected and charged with domestic violence, slapped on the wrist by the league with a quick suspension and then returned to the gridiron. The media and fans have been raising quite the ruckus recently: namely focusing on what does the NFL really stand for. From the outside looking in, I see an uncaring, non-disciplinary organization that lets these top athletes run free after committing some very serious crimes. They seem to punish the player with a two or three game suspension and never speak of it again. I think this is wrong. It is just morally and ethically wrong to pretend as if nothing ever happened when clearly there are lasting physical and emotional scars from all parties involved. At some point there needs to be a line drawn.

I believe the NFL has their heart and soul directed toward money and those who make them the greenbacks: the players. The NFL is a billion dollar organization that lives on the performance of top teams and athletes and it’s obvious they will do anything in their power to protect their own reputation and that of top players. As the weeks go on, all I can do is shake my head at the ongoing news of Ray Rice,Adrian Peterson and many more that seem to be popping out of the woodwork.

All I can do is hope that after this horrific month of NFL news that they learn their lessons, be put to justice and become a better organization.

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