Last week, the 2014 NFL Training Camp began for all 32 teams, but in Owings Mills, MD, the home of the Baltimore Ravens, an ugly story took center stage. The league suspended Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens All-Pro Running Back) for 2 games for allegedly punching his fiancé, knocking her unconscious, and then dragging her out of an elevator still unconscious. Roger Goodell handed out the punishment that for many, including myself, is way too soft considering that a player smoking Marijuana (even in Denver and Seattle) is suspended for 4 games or more. In Rogers’ defense, it not just him and the NFL. Domestic violence is treated with a laissez-faire attitude despite its deadly consequences.
I am not going to beat up on Roger Goodell because MLB, NHL, and NBA all have domestic violence issues among their players. After all, just this past November, Semyon Varlamov, star goaltender of the Colorado Avalanche was arrested for a domestic violence incident with his partner (charges were later dropped). So the problem spans across all four major professional sports leagues. The NFL however, has by far, the most public cases of domestic violence than any other league. It seems like a monthly occurrence that an NFL player is getting arrested after hitting their partner.
As a society, we need to do a better job protecting women. Domestic violence is a serious issue, and one that way too often ends in murder. Roger missed a great opportunity to champion this issue by handing out a harsh punishment and setting a precedence that if you hit your partner, you will see harsh punishment from the league as well as prosecution. The NFL needs to set an example about how women should be treated. Professional sports leagues are a great place since many young men idealize these professional athletes. Instead, Mr. Goodell decided to perpetuate the notion that as a crime priority, domestic violence is low on the list.