Football fails to solve problem

Domestic violence continues to ravage the NFL


Photo Obtained Via Keith Allison on Flickr Under Creative Commons License

A 22-year-old Ray Rice at training camp in 2009. Five years later, Rice would be arrested following a domestic violence incident located in one of the hotel’s elevators.

Nicky Varela, Reporter

Domestic violence has become widespread in sports over the last decade. No sport however, has struggled to contain the amount of these violent attacks as football. The NFL has been hit with a number of allegations and controversies in recent years. While the league is aware of every incident, they have mostly failed to act upon them in the proper way or even at all.

On February 14th, 2014, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and his fiancée, Janay Palmer, were arrested outside a hotel following a domestic violence incident within the hotel’s elevator. A video later posted by TMZ on the 19th revealed the full scale of the event. Rice brutally attacked Palmer, knocking her out cold. Rice then dragged a now unconscious Palmer through the elevator doors, revealing the true horror of his actions.

The Baltimore Ravens were slow to react to the event, not taking any disciplinary actions against Rice, allowing the NFL to take control of the situation. Rice was initially given a two game ban, but a resurface of an extended version of the video caused more controversy in September. Rice was immediately cut by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely from playing football by the NFL.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell publicly apologized for the poor handling of the Rice investigation, but even with a revised domestic violence policy failed to execute later cases effectively. In February of 2018, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was accused of abusing a friend while in college. He went on to get drafted by the Cowboys anyways, despite facing five domestic violence accusations. “Zeke” served a six game suspension in the 2017 season, but continues to be one of the league’s stars and play without consequences.

This past November, another NFL player, linebacker Reuben Foster was arrested on charges of domestic violence. Despite being cut by the San Francisco 49ers, Foster managed to avoid almost any long term reparations, and within weeks signed with a new team, the Washington Redskins.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ Kareem Hunt quickly exploded onto the scene during the 2017 season, leading the league in rushing yards as a rookie. Hunt seemed poised for a long and accolade-filled career, but disaster struck in February when police responded to an alleged assault incident at a hotel between Hunt and another woman. While no charges were filed against Hunt at the time, a video revealed by TMZ on November 30th showed Hunt clearly shoving, punching, and even kicking the defenseless woman. Quickly after the video was revealed, the 23-year-old Hunt was cut by Kansas City and placed on the commissioner’s exempt list by the league.

Even though domestic violence related cases have almost become a regular occurance in the NFL, yet investigations continue to stretch out and be handled poorly.

“I feel like more could be done,” said John Scholla, head coach of the varsity football team at McLean.

The NFL’s failures start with poor investigations into domestic violence cases regarding their players. Upon hearing of the arrest of their players the league takes little to no action, allowing TMZ to expose almost all information regarding cases. For a league that prides itself on good morals and high character, they have only managed disappointing efforts to discipline players who violate the league’s personal conduct policy (Expectations set in place for NFL players based on their off-field actions).

The policy states that everyone affiliated with the league must “ refrain from conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL.” The policy states that an investigation will be launched if there is any suspicion of a violation, which domestic violence is, yet multiple cases have been handled with delayed or no investigation.

The NFL have expected teams to handle their players issues in house, which has had mixed success as shown by the Ray Rice case. The league fails to take action on these important and life-changing events, which truly showcases their laziness and inconsideration for their teams. If the NFL plans to stay as America’s most popular sport, they need to resolve this violence that tarnishes their reputation and leaves a black mark on the sport.