The NFL attempts to strike back

The NFL has been criticized heavily for its slapdash domestic violence policies, and it is obvious to the public that it needs reformed. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell does not know how to properly handle punishments and suspensions.

The NFL has very lax domestic violence policies and there have been several occurrences where it clearly did not issue the correct response and did nothing to prevent it from happening again. It appears as if the league is not sure what to do in certain cases of domestic abuse.

Illustration by Tyler Ross

Ezekiel Elliott was unfairly suspended six games for a past domestic violence incident. The accuser has a history of fabricating police reports and there is suspicion that she just wants money and media attention. Elliott was never actually charged with any crimes. A police report obtained by states that there were no physical signs of evidence that he hit her at all, which should have proven his innocence. The NFL acted out of line in his situation, and he did not deserve to be suspended at all. It has botched numerous cases now and completely failed to set consistent measures for how to handle similar situations.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, Goodell also did not handle the Ray Rice video incident in 2014 correctly at all. Rice was only given a minor two-game suspension for knocking his thenfiance unconscious in a hotel elevator. He should have been removed from the league upon release of the atrocious video or given a full season suspension at minimum. The NFL continually gives players a small slap on the wrist for hitting women but kicks players out of the league for failing a drug test.

The NFL is more concerned about protecting its self-image rather than calling out players who choose to commit these despicable acts of violence towards women. These situations prove that the NFL just doesn’t have the correct procedures in place and that it is not prepared for certain circumstances. The NFL has now repeatedly shown a lack of urgency and consistency in these types of cases.

Violence has become an American epidemic and as the most watched sport, the NFL must become more of a leader in preventing it. The NFL needs to set stricter guidelines and punish players more harshly based on the details of their cases to become a true leader in raising awareness and stopping domestic violence.

Several of the NFL’s rules and policies need modifications that allow them to adapt more to present times. Many of their policies are backwards and the players should take steps in the next collective bargaining agreement [CBA] that decrease the league’s authoritative control of their personal lives. The current CBA expires in 2021 and the NFL Players Union has come out and said that a lockout is essentially inevitable because there is some major lingering issues that need to be fixed in both the eyes of the owners and the players.

Goodell agreed to a five-year, $200 million extension on Dec. 6 to hold his position. Many fans and a few owners do not support what he has done in his tenure as commissioner. In order to combat their declining ratings, the league should consider adjusting their policies and changing their outlook on a considerable amount of controversial issues.

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