Domestic violence has been a recurring controversy recently in the NFL. During the Super Bowl, the NFL aired a domestic violence commercial, which was a text conversation between two women. One woman was at a party and another woman wants to attend the party, but doesn’t because an abusive man is present.
Since the NFL produced this commercial to be played during the Super Bowl, one would think the league would give this issue more legal attention. It’s strange how those who take part in domestic violence get less of a punishment than those involved in seemingly minor violations like Tom Brady, who was accused of deflating footballs. How could Tom Brady and the Patriots receive a stronger penalty then someone like Johnny Manziel or Greg Hardy who each abused women? The discrepancy is blatant and the NFL needs to change its policies about domestic violence.
Earlier this year, M-A Chronicle journalist Kyle Kranen wrote an opinion piece on Ray Rice and how the NFL handled the domestic violence case. This issue of domestic violence is being revisited because of two big domestic violence issues that have gone on since Kyle’s article. What has the NFL done since the Ray Rice incident? A big nothing.
Greg Hardy was found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend and threatening to kill her on May 12. At first, NFL Commissioner Roger Godell sentenced Hardy to a 10-game suspension, a tough punishment. But as has often been the case, Godell backed down and reduced the suspension to four games. This was the same amount of games that Martavis Bryant was suspended from for violating the substance abuse policy of the NFL.
How could the NFL suspend Bryant the same amount of games as Hardy? Does violating a drug policy have the same impact as violating the personal conduct policy? Drug violations primarily hurt only the person taking the drugs. But domestic violence inherently involves another person, which is a greater crime. Hardy, after being accused of domestic violence, showed no remorse whatsoever. Furthermore, Hardy has had a violent history with others, even including his coaches. While a 10-game suspension would not necessarily have stopped Hardy completely, it would still have helped demonstrate the NFL’s integrity and ethical standing on issues of domestic violence.
Johnny Manziel has once again been accused of domestic violence. Last October, he was accused of hitting his ex-girlfriend multiple times and smashing her head through a glass window in his car. The NFL didn’t do much at all about the case and eventually dismissed it. That may have been appropriate because of the circumstances of the case. The circumstances were that she denied of any beating after pleading she got beat. But maybe the NFL could have looked into the case a little harder because of his history of breaking rules and outrageous behavior in college.
Now, a little less than a month ago, Manziel is accused again of domestic abuse, this time with his latest girlfriend. Manuel was accused of hitting her many times and doing damage to her eardrum. And now, the NFL has been doing what it did last time, just ‘investigating.’ The NFL needs to suspend Manziel and hold to its punishment, unless evidence comes out with different information.
The commissioner and the league need to change their priorities when it comes to domestic violence. Players need to know that their actions have consequences and those consequences will be strict. It’s time for the NFL to get serious and take a stand against domestic violence.