The NFL forever looked the other way on everything that didn't promote the game or detracted from their perceived value and/or protecting "the shield" as the current commissioner loves to say. Until this offseason the league focused on drugs and alcohol violations, they didn't seem to care much about or spend any of its capital on more severe issues such as domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. That all changed with a security camera video from an Atlantic City casino where current/suspended running back, Ray Rice, was caught fighting with his financee, and most damning, showing him knock her out. Thanks to this incident, the NFL now appears ready to make domestic violence a serious offense, we as the paying public though needs to show support that this is the right move and they must consistently apply the rules to all cases (spousal, sexual assault & child violence) indiscriminately.
That's the important part, indiscriminately, because the National Football League has always chosen the easiest path to protecting their own, active, players at every turn, at the expense of the real victims. This isn't conjecture, this is pure fact, look no further than all pro defensive end, Greg Hardy, as an example, he beat his girlfriend so bad she was admitted to a hospital. He was charged and then convicted by a judge, however since he's "denying" and "appealing" he remains an active participant, playing under the franchise tag ($13.1 million guaranteed) for the Carolina Panthers. Ray Rice, who had no record but a very public display of violence, was given a 2 game suspension following full admission of guilt and post criminal proceedings settled, but now has been released by Baltimore and is "suspended indefinitely".
The most recent and damning example of the NFL not taking a firm stance on domestic violence is the news and indictment of running back great, Adrian Peterson, for child abuse. The photos and detailed account should be read to understand the gravity of the situation. The fact remains though when you look at the photos, read the police report and Peterson's own words, that this is clearly child abuse. Peterson's attorney is setting up the stage to argue that this "disclipline" is no different than what he received as a child, but that's deflecting the real issue, which is that b/c Peterson's dad abused him, then it's fine for him to be abused too?
Why I care is because I lived through domestic violence and child abuse. As a young kid, my biological father would sometimes lose his temper and violently take it out on my mother (sometimes in front of me) and when I fell into his path, his ire would be directed at me. I was fortunate to have a mother with rational sense and a safety net to fall back on (she finally moved out and away from the violence when I was 7). But I saw how much that impacted her and myself, I've spent time in therapy, I fight the same temper urges with my own kids. And what hurts me most is when somebody demonstrates a faux "moral compass" essentially only places a window dressing on their effort. Like Kobe Bryant or Tiger Woods who curated their "brands" as pristine, moral high ground. I'm fine if somebody wants to do that but they better live up to it for face the wrath of the public. I love the national football league but my passion for and interest in are waning in this current era b/c of their hypocrisy. In the past the NFL looked the other way but they also didn't pretend to care or promote "moral compass" values. That all changed with this current commissioner, Roger Goodell.
This current NFL commissioner has come in with a self proclaimed "moral compass" to "protect the shield" but with such random priorities that it's left a bad taste for an increasing majority of Americans. The Atlantic wrote a short but great contextual piece on Goodell's upbringing that helps explain his approach, the short explanation is he's on a witch hunt to "clean the game up" but in doing so has lost a sense of justice. Maybe the new drug policy (that eliminates his dictator role AND finally reclassifies recreational drug use less harshly to focus on true performance enhancing drugs) will help. However he's stepped on one landmine with the Ray Rice & domestic violence issue, and he's about to step on another with Adrian Peterson's child abuse case. My request is that this commissioner live up to his self proclaimed mandate and take a stand. Adrian Peterson should miss the rest of this year or be suspended the 6 games while he follows through on a court mandated diversion program to demonstrate the seriousness of his crime. Anything less than immediate punishment diminishes it's importance and further demonstrates that the NFL will subjectively apply rules when it best suits them solely.