Domestic violence problem in NFL


The National Football League (NFL) is still not punishing its players properly for domestic violence charges.

There have been multiple cases with players where the punishments they received were not enough.

Many thought this problem would be resolved after commissioner of the NFL Roger Goodell installed a new domestic violence policy in 2014, but that has not helped.

Commissioner Goodell created the new policy in Aug. 2014 because of the backlash he and the NFL received after suspending Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for just two games for hitting his girlfriend.

There was also a lot of controversy over the handling and punishment of cases including Carolina Panthers Greg Hardy and most recently Josh Brown of the New York Giants.

Under the new policy a first offense would result in a six-week suspension without pay and a second offense will result in banishment from the NFL.

What made Ray Rice’s suspension so controversial was that the NFL and the Ravens knew that Rice punched his girlfriend in an elevator knocking her out cold.  

A few months later a video was released, showing Rice punching his then girlfriend and dragging her out of the elevator.  Yet he only missed two games.

After the video surfaced online, the Ravens decided to suspend Rice indefinitely and eventually cut him from the team.

Why did the Ravens suspend Rice indefinitely when they already knew what occurred?

All that changed was that the public saw what happened in the elevator.  Rice should have been suspended indefinitely from the beginning.

With the negative response from the public and even pressuring Goodell to resign, he owned up to his mistake and came up with the new policy.

The first case that fell under the new policy was Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy.  He was originally suspended 10 games for using physical force against his ex-girlfriend in Apr. 2014.

Commissioner Goodell said in an article from, “The use of physical force under the circumstances present here, against a woman substantially smaller than you and in the presence of powerful, military-styled assault weapons, constitutes a significant act of violence in violation of the Personal Conduct Policy.”

Hardy chose to appeal his 10 game suspension and it was reduced to four games in July 2015.

Arbitrator Harold Henderson, who  reduced Hardy’s suspension from 10 weeks to four said to, “Ten games is too much, in my view, of an increase over prior cases without notice such as was done last year, when the baseline for discipline in domestic violence or sexual assault cases as a six-game suspension.”

By the NFL’s rules, Henderson is correct; a 10-week suspension was too much because according to the policy Hardy should have been suspended six weeks in the first place, but for the general public 10 weeks might not be enough and especially not six.

Most recently in August New York Giants kicker Josh Brown was suspended one game.  The suspension was a result of Brown’s arrest in May 2015 for a domestic violence charge.

The New York Giants organization knew that Brown had a history of physical abuse and they continued to have him on the roster.

That all changed when journal entries from Brown emerged on Oct. 19.

In one of the journal entries from Mar. 2013 from Bleacher Report Brown said, “I have physically, verbally and emotionally abused my wife Molly” and “I have controlled her by making her feel less human than me and manipulated her with money.”

The Giants cut Brown from the team after the journal entries emerged.

A man who admitted to abusing his wife, who had a violent history and had been arrested, was suspended just one game.  That is not acceptable.

The NFL is not following the policy that their commissioner came up with in the first place and they continue to make mistakes.  Domestic violence is never acceptable and is illegal, so why are players being punished so lightly?