NFL vs. domestic violence, still no improvement


By Katlin Schendel
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When I look at America, one of the first things that comes to mind is football. The roaring fans, the great food, the fun atmosphere; all these things flood the mind. The National Football League (NFL) brings the excitement right to our living room. And yet, our favorite pastime has a darker side—one that made only brief media coverage in 2014. Ray Rice, a former running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was accused of domestic violence after a video leak to the public. The NFL had never before dealt with the problems of domestic violence amongst its players so publicly before. After a long talk with their board of directors, they came to a solution: slam a new rule into the book and put a bright sign over Rice that read “suspended” in hope that other players would get the message. Any form of domestic violence should not be tolerated and in my opinion, suspension is too nice of a punishment.

However, since this incident, the NFL has been giving free passes in multiple domestic cases. Many players are just sent to counseling for as little as 16 weeks and then welcomed back to the team. Why are these football players just getting a slap on the wrist, when any other person guilty of domestic violence would easily go to jail? I am not a football fan and most of the time I have no idea what is going on, but I have always felt that fans care more about the players than the sport. I rarely see a football fan without a favorite player like Peyton Manning, star quarterback for the Denver Broncos. This “fan craze” can earn athletes a career. Since professional athletes have large fan bases and lives dictated to them by marketing and advertising, actions that cast the spotlighted stars in a negative light are de-emphasized in media coverage, allowing the NFL to slack off on giving adequate disciplinary actions to their most valued players.

So why do football players get a free pass? It has become increasingly evident that the NFL dislikes bad publicity. When their corporation signs a player, anything that player does while under contract reflects back upon them. To solve the problem, the NFL has decided to pretend these “little events” never happened and the best way to do this is to manipulate the media.

Media has always been present in football, praising the triumphs and scorning the failures. And yet, where is the media now? Media helps the players by downsizing the severity of their crime. Whether justice is upheld or the players get away, the fact remains: football is an American sport in need of fixing.

As we look toward the future of the NFL and its policies, we need to start questioning their actions. The new “two-strike” policy should never have been allowed. Football players or not, America has always believed everyone is subject to the law, and football players should be no different.