Ray Rice, a running back for the Ravens will be sitting out two games for charges of domestic violence. Yet, a positive test for marijuana means Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, will be sitting out for a full season. The contrast between the two seems a little off.
Critics of the NFL’s arbitrary policy toward domestic violence feel it’s time the league starts cracking down harder on players who hurt women. These critics include three members of Congress who have written to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to ask for reconsideration of Rice’s suspension. Meanwhile, numerous women and family advocate groups have voiced their opinions that the penalty is too lenient. While no moves have been taken, a source close to the NFL says the league plans on looking into increasing the punishments it hands down for players involved in domestic violence disputes.
The NFL has set guidelines regarding penalties for use of illegal and performance-enhancing drugs that it outlined alongside the NFL Players Association. But domestic violence, which falls under the umbrella of personal conduct, is a topic left to the discretion of the commissioner. According to Judy Harris Kluger, executive director of Sanctuary for Families, while the NFL’s personal code of conducted does not tolerate domestic violence, it looks like the league did not follow its own code of conduct when it took to outlining Rice’s punishment. “It boggles the mind that they did not act in a way that … sent a message that this is more serious,” said Kluger.
Not a New Issue
But according to USA Today’s NFL Arrests Database, this is not a new topic for the NFL. 77 players have been involved in 85 domestic violence charges since January 2000. Only six have been cut by their teams. According to Goodell, the league should not just “make up the discipline,” and will need to be consistent. He also defended Rice – saying he took responsibility and had not been in trouble previously. He went on to emphasize that Rice’s punishment was for a first offense.
Source: ABC, Experts Want to See NFL Act on Domestic Violence, August 27, 2014
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