The NFL has experienced four high profile domestic violence cases in the span of a year, child abuse, substance abuse, and performance enhancing drugs. Now there are many fans suspecting negligence by commissioner Roger Goodell.
Instead of the focus being on football and the start of a new season, the video of Ray and Janay Rice’s altercation has been the topic of discussion. The NFL first came under fire for only suspending Rice for two games. Rice has received the most attention, but isn’t the only player accused of abuse.
- Pro bowl defensive end Greg Hardy was convicted of domestic violence, and death threats against his former girlfriend.
- Jonathan Dwyer of the Cardinals has been accused of violence against his wife and son.
- Forty-Niner Ray McDonald defensive end is also facing domestic violence allegations.
- All-pro running back Adrian Peterson has been exempt from his team for child abuse.
Soon after the string of cases, a new domestic violence policy was created. Goodell announced that first time domestic violence offenders will receive a six game suspension, and second time offenders will receive a lifetime ban. In addition to the rule change, the NFL has created a team of four women to combat domestic violence.
Some of these cases happened earlier in the year, bringing to question why they weren’t disciplined until the public reacted. Several of the league’s sponsors have threatened to pull out if players aren’t disciplined properly. Besides McDonald all of the aforementioned players have been exempt from the team, but are still being paid.
This calendar year has been a black eye for the league’s image with thirty-one suspensions, and several other cases pending according to SBNation. Roger Goodell once revered by players and fans, is now dealing with a public relations nightmare.
The current controversy surrounding the league has many calling for his job. National Organization of Women president Terry O’Neil called for Goodell’s job in an interview with ESPN.
“The only workable solution is for Roger Goodell to resign and for his successor to appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community and to recommend real and lasting reforms.” -Terry O’Neil
As new information continues to emerge, Roger Goodell’s future will be something to keep an eye on. It’s unlikely the NFL will see a significant dent in its profits, but one has to wonder about the public’s perception going forward.