NFL Off-the Field Issues

Brant Barnhart, Writer

It has been a really rough couple of months for the National Football League off the field. It all started in February when a video was released of now ex-Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice dragging his knocked out wife, Janay Palmer, out of an Atlantic City casino. He was only suspended two games until the elevator video was released by TMZ on September 8th. After that, Rice was released by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

On September 12, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson turned himself in for a child abuse charge for hitting his son with a tree branch. The Vikings suspended Peterson for their game against the Patriots, and then reinstated him. But, the next day, after some outrage from fans and people around the league, Peterson was put on the NFL’s Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List.  What that means is he is really being suspended with pay. He is on the list until the issue is resolved in court, which means he could very well be out for the season.

Also, there have been three other domestic violence incidences in the league. Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, Arizona Cardinals running back John Dwyer, and San Francisco 49’s defensive tackle Ray McDonald. Hardy and Dwyer were both put on the NFL’s Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List, and Ray McDonald was not suspended at all.

As you can see, it has not been a good year for the NFL off the field. There have been talks on how they are going to handle these off the field issues, and how they are going to going to prevent them from happening. But it is not going to stop soon, it will have to be a long process.

It will have to start at the top with Commissioner Roger Goodell.  I think that he has taken the right steps towards cleaning up the bad behavior. The new domestic abuse policy is six games for your first offense and a lifetime ban for your second. I honestly would have made the second offense a season long and the third offense a lifetme ban, but the new policy works fine.

Even with the off the field issues, I still believe that the ratings will stay the same for the NFL. But, it’s not about that. The players need to clean up their act, because they are putting a bad image on their league and their sport. But, the NFL can be a role model to everyone else, being how huge of a brand it is, and they have a chance right now to show how they do not accept this behavior, and they could help spread awareness about things like child abuse and domestic violence.