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I like football.  I don’t love football.  I played the game when I was young and enjoyed playing it.  On the other hand, I am not one to sit on the couch all weekend to watch football games.  I admit when my poor Bears are on TV, I will flip back and forth to see how they are doing.  I don’t think I have watched an entire game in years.

One of the reasons I don’t watch a lot of football is because, in my opinion, the game has changed so much that it isn’t football anymore.  Forgive me for being old, but the fundamentals of the game have just about disappeared.  I am sick of watching grown men making millions of dollars who can’t even tackle properly.

The rules have changed so much, to protect the players which is a good thing, that no one even knows what a penalty is anymore.  Including the referees.  The last two games involving the Dallas Cowboys proves that point, I think.  As a result, all we see during the games is a bunch of men running around trying to “slam into” the opponent instead of trying to “tackle” them.  It has become very boring to me.

We have instant replay to “get the call right” but things like penalties cannot be reviewed.  Which is why in those two games involving the Cowboys in the playoffs there was no review.  So much for “getting the call right.”  On top of that, players “trash talking” has gotten so bad, I feel like I am watching Pro-Wrestlers at the microphone rather than Pro-Football Players.

I don’t have anything against trash talking on the field.  But, when you bring it to the post game news conference, it is more like WWE than football.  All of this is going on when the NFL has a problem.  It has mishandled all kinds of situations that crept up during this season.  Look at the Ray Rice and the Adrian Peterson cases.

Before the Seattle Seahawks game on Sunday, the NFL said that if Lynch wore “gold-colored spikes” he would be disqualified for the game and fined to boot.  They said it would violate the uniform rules.  They have fined him thousands of dollars already for not speaking to the media, and threaten to fine him in excess of $50,000 if he doesn’t speak to the media during Super Bowl week.  Then they fined one of his teammates for giving an obscene gesture after a touchdown.

This brings us to what is becoming the infamous “deflategate” incident in New England.  According to reports, the New England Patriots were using under inflated footballs in the game.  One of the Colts complained after he intercepted Brady because he thought the ball felt funny.  It turns out that 11 of the 12 balls the Patriots were using were under inflated by 15%!

According to the rules, footballs must be pressurized between 12.5 and 13.5 PSI.  All of these balls were retested at halftime and were found to be at 11 PSI.  I grew up in the north and I know that weather affects PSI.  But, not at a 15% rate.  Besides, the footballs that were used by the Indianapolis Colts were not under inflated.  So, you should be able to rule out the weather being a factor.

I know this doesn’t sound like something very egregious.  Nor am I suggesting that the Colts might have won if the footballs were not under inflated.  Let’s face facts, the Colts stunk in the game.  But, having played the game, I can tell you that under inflating the ball does make it easier to grip it making passing easier and forced fumbles harder.  Especially on cold wet days like Sunday was in New England.

You must also remember that it was Tom Brady and Payton Manning who lobbied the league to allow each team to bring “their own footballs” to the game.  Before the 2008 season, the home team supplied all of the game balls.  But because quarterbacks each like the ball a little different, Brady and Manning lobbied the league in 2007 to change that rule.  Now each team plays with their own footballs during the game.

Besides, we have to take into consideration that this is not the first time New England has been discovered to be cheating.  Remember “spygate?”  If the NFL is truly out to “protect the integrity of the shield” as they claim, then the only correct thing for them to do is suspend Brady and Belichick for the Super Bowl.  During their news conferences yesterday, both men said “I have no idea what happened” over, and over.

In an ironic twist, Brady said he wants his footballs at 12.5 PSI, but then said he doesn’t feel any difference during the game.  That is a real stretch for me.  He says he can’t feel the difference in the one piece of equipment he handles all of the time, but thinks 12.5 PSI is the “perfect football.”  Look, I like Tom Brady, but I believe he just got caught in his own lie and needs to be punished.

Belichick claims he knows nothing about inflating footballs.  Yet he also contradicted himself when he said that he alters the inflation of the balls in practice so his players “practice under the most extreme conditions” like during the game.  Another contradiction that is hard for me to swallow.

During his news conference Belichick threw his quarterback under the bus.  His quarterback then threw the equipment staff under the bus in his news conference.  All the while standing in front of a backdrop that read “Gillette Flexball.”  Now there is a subliminal message if there ever was one!

To use Belichick’s and Brady’s own words, I would be “shocked” if anything was done to punish the New England Patriots before the Super Bowl.  Even if there was some kind of punishment handed out before the game, it will not include the suspension of either Belichick or Brady.

Even if both men are telling the truth that they don’t know how the balls were under inflated, which I find hard to believe, remember what Commissioner Goodell said during the news conference handing out punishment for the Saints in “bountygate”.  He said:  “ignorance is not an excuse.”

I know “boutnygate” was far more serious than “deflategate” but as he likes to say, “rules are rules” and must be followed by all.  Therefore, I see no recourse but to suspend both the coach and quarterback for the upcoming game.  Otherwise we will continue to see the NFL become more and more like the WWE.

I think you can only sum up this NFL season as a really shitty one for the league!  Only, they have no one to blame but themselves.

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It doesn’t matter if you are reading a newspaper, a blog, an online magazine, or even watch television you see them everywhere.  This is the time of year when everyone seems to be enthralled with what happened through the year.  And, in order to make it easier for you to follow them, these stupid best and worst lists keep cropping up.

Just today, one online magazine has no less than twelve lists.  They include such notables as worst cable news, top 10 movies, 10 most outrageous reactions, best episodes on tv, what to read, best tweets, worst tweets, product failures, most talked about images, hair, and of course best SNL moments.

I have never really understood the fascination with these lists.  All of these lists are opinionated at best.  They are written by someone who thinks of themselves as an expert and their opinion matters on these subjects.  To make a point, most of the movies that always show up in the top 10 movies of the year are not things I would be interested in watching.  Or, take those “classic movie” channels on TV.  They seem to think that just because a movie was made years ago, it must be a classic simply because it is old.

Unfortunately, these lists are not just limited to the end of the year.  Even ESPN has a top 10 plays of the day, every day!  This time of year most of the so-called top plays involve dunking a basketball.  Sorry, but if a six-foot ten inch man cannot dunk a basketball, there is a problem with his skills.  I always believed that a dunk should only count for one point instead of the normal two.  I mean come on, be tall, jump up, and dunk the ball.  What is so skillful about that?

The best and the worst tweets are relatively new to this list of regurgitation of things that happened over the year.  Problem is that I don’t bother following any twitter accounts.  I really don’t care what a “famous” person is eating for dinner tonight.  I also find that most people with twitter accounts don’t really have a life, so I am not too interested in what they have to say.  Just like a lot of people probably don’t care about what I writer here.

All of this shows just how lazy we have become as a society.  We are interested in the most mundane things like twitter accounts and best and worst lists.  Does anyone really wait until the end of the year to look at the 10 best movies of the year list to decide if they are going to watch a particular movie?  Or, wait until the 10 best novels list comes out before trotting down to the book store and buying a book?

We already know that we aren’t interested in things that matter.  We look to TV news for those 20 second sound bites to determine if we favor a candidate or not.  We allow pundits to help us make up our minds on everything from politics to everyday life.

If someone really wants to make up a list to inform the public about something useful, how about lists like:  10 bills that would have created millions of jobs that the House refused to vote on,  10 lousy tactics politicians use to screw over poor people, or worst states to live in for health care coverage if you are poor.  Lists like these might actually make people think about real life.  But, I doubt it.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait until the new year starts and these lousy lists just go away.  At least until next year.  I prefer to make my own mind up on what is the best and worst.  I don’t need someone telling me what was.  That is why you won’t see a 10 best or worst list written by me.  I prefer you make up your own mind too.

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The last twelve months have exposed a lot of problems in our society.  I am not talking about our political problems either.  In the last twelve months, we have seen certain people in our society get away with just about everything including vehicular homicide.

A drunk rich kid driving under the influence was involved in an accident that resulted in the death of someone.  His lawyer argued that he was suffering from a made-up infection called “affluenza” and was therefore not responsible for his actions.  The judge actually fell for this nonsense and he is spending no jail time for killing a human being while he was driving drunk.

At the end of last year when a football player (the star quarterback of the team) at a university had been accused of raping a student nothing was done about it.  Reports even stated that local police told the woman that her life would be hell if she went ahead with the charges because of whom she was accusing.

Then there was a rash of NFL players who were accused of domestic violence.  One of the players pled “no contest” to child abuse charges in order to avoid a trial that might have put him in jail.  The NFL announced that he would be suspended for the remainder the season.  He announced that he would immediately appeal the suspension since he has missed all of the season so far.  But, he has been paid for his time off.

A star NBA player was recently accused of child abuse but Florida decided not to do anything even though the doctor who examined the child stated that there was bruising on the child because he was beaten with the buckle end of a belt.  The player’s lawyer immediately accused the players estranged spouse of “making it all up” because of a very ugly custody battle.  In the meantime, the state of Georgia has announced it will look into the matter.

A New Jersey High School suspended the entire football season over allegations of abuse by some players on others.  Normally, this is called hazing.  But, the hazing went way beyond the lines of decency and some of the players are now facing criminal charges.  Yet, many in the community say the High School went too far, not the players.

Recently two more football players (both starters on the same team as the rape accusation) were reportedly involved in a traffic accident.  The accident resulted in the totaling of both vehicles involved, and reports indicate the accident was the fault of the football player.  Reportedly the player was driving on a suspended license and fled the scene on foot.  Instead of being charged with “hit and run” he was simply given two tickets and was never tested or even asked if he had used drugs or alcohol.

Bill Cosby has been accused by 14 women of being a serial rapist.  All of the women accused him of drugging them and raping them.  The first accusation came out about 20 years ago.  Again, nothing was done.  In one case, Mr. Cosby settled out of court so nothing else came of it.

The one thing all of these cases have in common is that the accused is a “personality” in public life.  Most of them are sports stars and one is a TV/Movie star.  In all cases, the victims involved are the ones who are being questioned about their “honesty”.  In the Cosby case, even Whoopi Goldberg said she has a lot of questions for the accuser.  Why doesn’t she have a lot of questions for Cosby instead?

In rape cases, victim blaming is a simple game that the accused plays all of the time.  Now, as we see, victim blaming is something that goes even beyond rape.  It has infected our justice system to a point where victims are becoming more and more afraid to come out with their story.

Or, in some cases we see where law enforcement is willing to turn a blind eye to the behavior just because the person being accused is some sort of celebrity.  You will probably tell me that this type of thing has been going on for years.  That may be true.  But, isn’t it time for it to stop?

Quite frankly, I never read the “entertainment” section of newspapers.  I really don’t care about the lives of celebrities.  I don’t care how rich people, movie stars, sports stars, or any other celebrity lives.  They can afford to live however they want.  But, I do care when they are involved in criminal activity and get away with it simply because they are celebrities.

I get even more irritated when people defend their behavior and put blame on the victims.  Or try to brush it off as “boys will be boys” stupidity.  The over-militarization of our police forces is a real problem that has led to tragedy across the nation.  However, the complicity of law enforcement in helping these celebrities get away with crimes is even more troublesome.

We have seen way too many times when law enforcement has turned a blind eye to celebrity misbehavior.  The victims have been hurt.  In some cases people have died.  Yet, they seem to get away with whatever they have been accused of doing.

With this kind of reaction whenever someone with a public name gets in trouble we have to ask ourselves just how balanced our justice system really is.  In some states if you are caught with a bag of marijuana you get at least 10 years in jail.  If you are a college football player who flees from the scene of an accident, you get “well that’s okay”.

If you are a star running back in the NFL and beat your then fiancé you get paid 5 million dollars to sit out a season and then cry foul when an actual suspension comes down for your behavior.  And, you get the union to back you up on the matter.

If you are a star quarterback on a college football team and get accused of rape, the police tell the victim that she will go through hell if she continues with the complaint.  Then, when there is a scheduled hearing to determine if you broke university conduct policy, you get the hearing put off until after the football season so you can continue to play.

If you are a star comedian who is accused of being a serial rapist over the last 20 years by as many as 14 women, your friends “have questions for the accuser” instead of you.  Forget the large number of women accusing you, they must all be liars.

I don’t know if everyone who has been involved in these cases are guilty or not.  I am not making an assumption of guilt.  I am questioning how these cases have been handled.  These cases show clearly that our judicial system may indeed be broken.  In most of them it clearly shows a lack of interest by law enforcement to fully investigate cases involving “celebrities”.

Cynics have claimed for years that guilt and innocence is determined more by how much money you have rather than the actual facts of the case.  When we continuously see these kinds of behavior towards celebrities, maybe the cynics are correct.  As a result maybe the Statue of Justice should not be blind folded and holding a scale, maybe she should have one eye open looking at the bag of money she is holding.

But then, we are all to blame for this mess.  If we continue to believe the accused simply because they are celebrities, nothing will change for the better.

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I bet the NFL isn’t watching this too closely.  A New Jersey High School has suspended its entire football season after 4 games because of substantial and credible evidence of pervasive bullying, harassment and hazing in the program, including allegations of possible sexual assault.  This high school, Sayerville High School has won the state championship in its level 4 of the last 5 seasons.  It also has a running streak of 20 state playoff appearances.  So, this isn’t some scrub team where this action won’t be noticed.

In a news conference after he informed the players and parents, Richard Labbe said:  “There were incidences of harassment, intimidation, and bullying that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level, and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated and, in general, accepted.”  He also reported that the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office and the Sayerville Police Department were investigating “inappropriate conduct of a significant and serious nature” that allegedly took place within the football program. All three levels of the football program — varsity, JV and freshman — have had their seasons canceled.

Of course there are parents who disagree with the decision.  They have criticized the Superintendent for punishing players who were not involved — as well as cheerleaders and band members.   “It’s unfair for the kids that didn’t get to play this year that had nothing to do with it,” parent Joe Scirica told TODAY.

Now, Scirica may have a point about those not being involved and members of the cheerleader squad and band are also being punished.  But, the point is extremely minor.  There is a criminal investigation going on at the high school concerning “incidences of harassment, intimidation, and bullying on a pervasive level.  This appears to be on a wide-scale level and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated and, in general accepted.”  If that portion of the investigation proves out, how can a parent say their child was uninvolved?  If they knew about what was going on and failed to report it to the school, they are generally accepted it and thus were involved.

There have been many instances where high school, college, and professional players were involved in things of this nature and worse.  It is not uncommon to hear about football players intimidating and bullying other students.  I have never heard of another school, as prominent and successful in the sport as this school, cancelling the season over these incidents.  Usually, there is one or two scapegoats and the season goes along.

Maybe, just maybe, this will be the start of something big.  If a successful program like Sayerville can have its season cancelled over these incidents, hopefully, other schools will look to use the same standard.  That is probably going to be the only way for schools to put an end to this bullying behavior.  The action taken by this school district was honorable.  Of course, we have to wait and see what the criminal investigation proves as the case moves along.

But, I think Labbe did the right thing in cancelling the season.  About the only thing that is worse than the bullying going on in our schools is the fact that many schools silently approve it by doing nothing to stop it.  Sayerville chose not to silently approve bullying.  They decided to take a stand against it.  They should be applauded for that decision.

If we can stamp out the culture of athletes getting away with such behavior in high school, we may begin to see it end at the college and professional level as well.  I am dubious that other high schools will take such a brave stance though.  That is also part of the culture of bullying.  As long as championships are gotten, schools all too often look the other way.  Silence by administrators is the loudest approval there is.

 

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Bill Simmons at ESPN was suspended for three weeks for his rant on his podcast on the web magazine Grantland against Roger Goodell.  On the show he said:

I just think not enough is being made out of the fact that they knew about the [Ray Rice] tape, and they knew what was on it. Goodell, if he didn’t know what was on that tape, he’s a liar. I’m just saying it. He is lying. I think that dude is lying, if you put him up on a lie detector test that guy would fail. And for all these people to pretend they didn’t know is such fucking bullshit. It really is—it’s such fucking bullshit. And for him to go in that press conference and pretend otherwise, I was so insulted.

To show how insulted he really was, he dared ESPN to discipline him:

I really hope somebody calls me or emails me and says I’m in trouble for anything I say about Roger Goodell. Because if one person says that to me, I’m going public. You leave me alone. The commissioner’s a liar and I get to talk about that on my podcast. Thank you. … Please call me and say I’m in trouble. I dare you.

ESPN took him up on his dare.  Remember, ESPN has a contract with the NFL to show Monday Night Football.  Since they received the contract, the majority of their programming is more about football than anything else.  So, it isn’t surprising that ESPN would not only suspend Simmons, but use the following statement to justify it.

Every employee must be accountable to ESPN and those engaged in our editorial operations must also operate within ESPN’s journalistic standards. We have worked hard to ensure that our recent N.F.L. coverage has met that criteria. Bill Simmons … did not meet those obligations.

There is really more to this story than meets the eye.  The NFL has been engaged in a lot of negative publicity in the last few years.  Former players have sued the NFL over brain injuries caused by concussions.  More and more players have been accused of domestic violence.  More and more players have been suspended for drug use.

Problem is these are not new issues.  They have been around for years.  But until recently, the NFL has been able to backseat these issues so the fans don’t lose their enthusiasm for the sport.  With the most recent problems with domestic abuse by players, sponsors have expressed their “disappointment” with the league on how they handle such cases.  There hasn’t been a huge break of sponsorship, yet.  As one reporter said “although gaining some points for fighting abuse would be nice, it isn’t financially worth losing potential revenue from not advertising with the NFL.”

The other problem in making the NFL more decent in these matters is the fans.  Every game is still being sold out every week.  That means that none of the problems are having any impact on the NFL’s bottom line.  Until that happens, there will be no real change in how the NFL handles these cases.

I have said before that the NFL is today’s version of the Roman Gladiator Games.  Hell, Fox even plays up that idea in their ads for upcoming games.  This just proves that our lust for blood-sport seems ingrained in our genes.  Yes, I know, no one is actually killed at the end of the event as in gladiator fights in the coliseum, but the brutality of the sport is what seems to glue us to the TV every week.

It is true that all sports are a reflection of society.  As a result, society can make changes in how sports leagues handle social issues.  In the 1970s, there was a huge backlash against the NBA over drug use.  Players were constantly getting in trouble for using recreational drugs.  People stopped going to NBA games saying that the NBA had become a bunch of street gangs in shorts.

This drop in attendance and TV ratings forced the NBA to make some changes.  The league cleaned itself up.  It was either that or go out of business.  Yes, players like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Michael Jordan helped turn things around.  But, it was also their “clean image” that helped bring people back to the game.  As a result, the NBA is about as popular as ever.

The Sterling crisis brought up another possible crisis for the league.  But, the commissioner handled it so quickly that it was resolved.  It was handled so well, that when another owner got caught with his own racial comments, he didn’t wait for the NBA to act.  He announced that he would sell his portion of the team as quickly as he could.  And, the league received praise over its handling of the situation.  That praise is something that is definitely lacking in these NFL cases.

The point here is that maybe Simmons was really insulted over the NFL and Roger Goodell’s recent new conference.  Simmons is widely known as a huge sports fan.  That is what makes his podcast so popular.  People look at him as a fan, not merely a reporter.  As such, wouldn’t it have been real nice if Simmons went on to say that the public should boycott the NFL until these matters are resolved?  What kind of shock-waves would have reverberated in the sports world if he had said that?  That would have been real news.

Football is not alone in problems.  As I mentioned the NBA went through problems.  Major League Baseball had their problems with PED’s.  In their case, it was the players who fought the dirty players, and they eventually won.  Contrary to popular belief, it was the players who fought for more drug testing to clean up the game.  Unfortunately, NFL players don’t seem to harbor the same fight to clean up their game.

The public proved with the NBA that they can force changes.  It is time for the public to force the NFL to make similar changes.  Look, football is a good sport.  The vast majority of players are good people who do wonderful work in the community.  But, the NFL is being tarnished by these abusers who have been getting away with it.

One step to force change is for sponsors to pull out.  Another step is for the players to revolt against the abusers and stop talking about “they are family” which only suggests they approve of domestic violence.  But, the best way to force change is for the fans to stop supporting the sport.  Let the fans stop going to games, or have TV ratings plummet for a few weeks, and you will see changes.

Despite the fact that many argue that sports figures are not heroes to our children, they are.  That alone should help ignite a fan revolt against the obvious reticent of the league to do something right.  I suggest that figures like Simmons should be leading the charge.  If he is truly “insulted” like he said he is he should leap on the opportunity.  Otherwise his comments are merely “fucking bullshit.”

 

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The media is still abuzz with the NFL and its Domestic Violence problem.  The media is still talking about it.  People are still calling for Roger Goodell’s head, and the right-wing media is still calling all the fuss “the chickification” of the NFL.  Some people with more sane minds are actually beginning to speak about this issue with more intelligence.  Some are saying that at least the NFL problems have finally brought this abuse to light and open discussion.

I am not so sure that is really the case.  Yes, we keep hearing about all of the NFL players involved in domestic abuse cases, but we rarely hear about any cases from any other field.  Yet there is one case that is even more egregious than all of the NFL cases and you probably haven’t even heard about it.  This case involves a District Court Judge in Alabama.

District Court Judge Mark E. Fuller was arrested and charged for hitting, kicking, and dragging his wife around a luxury hotel room last month.  He has not been removed from his job either!   The problem is that removing a federal judge from the bench is not as easy as people may think.  Even if he is convicted of a felony, that does not necessarily mean he will be removed.  When removing a judge from the bench, everything is based on his job performance as a judge and not his personal behavior.

This is a real problem when you consider that this man sits in judgment of others.  How is it possible that someone who has been arrested for domestic violence can judge the behavior of others?  Yet, that is exactly what is going on here.

Police responded to a 911 call and reported Fuller’s wife, Kelli Fuller, had “visible lacerations to her mouth and forehead.”  She told police her husband “pulled her hair, threw her to the ground and kicked her… and that he “hit her in the mouth several times with his hands.”  This sordid information was released back in August.  Even before the Ray Rice incident hit the headlines.  Yet, there was virtually no coverage.

Like Ray Rice, Judge Fuller entered pre-trial diversion, or “offender-rehabilitation” programs that required counseling, and would be able to expunge his records if he fulfills the requirements of the program.  As a result, there will be no trial in the matter.  So, like Rice, he was able to avoid punishment for his abuse.

Of course Judge Fuller issued a statement: “This incident has been very embarrassing to me, my family, friends and the court.  I deeply regret this incident and look forward to working to resolve these difficulties with my family, where they should be resolved.”  Now, I don’t know about you, but that last part of his statement is troubling to me.  The part that says “working to resolve these difficulties with my family, where they should be resolved” is something that shows no remorse on the part of the Judge.

Yes, working to resolve these difficulties with his family is a good place to start.  But, saying “where they should be resolved” is telling everyone that the judge thinks it is no one’s business but his family’s.  That is where I have a problem.  Leaving domestic abuse to be settled among the family is the worst thing you can do.  The victims need protection from their abusers.  Not left to “resolve these difficulties” inside the family.  Sorry, but I have seen too many times when resolving difficulties inside the family only led to more abuse.

There has finally been some pushback about Judge Fuller keeping his job.   “Domestic abuse cannot be tolerated, explained away or swept under the rug. It must be confronted head on, and abusers just be held accountable,” Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) told the Montgomery Advertiser last week.  Yet, it took six weeks for either of the United States Senators from Alabama to voice their opinions calling for Judge Fuller to step down.

Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-Ala.) said in a statement posted on her website, “If an NFL player can lose his job because of domestic violence then a federal judge should definitely not be allowed to keep his life-time appointment to the federal bench.”

So, like Ray Rice, a Federal Judge was arrested for beating his wife in a hotel.  Like Rice he avoided trial by entering a pre-trial diversion program.  But, unlike Rice, he has so far kept his job as a Judge.  Worst of all, you probably haven’t heard a single thing about this in the national media.  You probably won’t unless he actually steps down from his post.  Then, the right-wing media will surely jump all over it and defend the Judge as much as they have defended the NFL abusers.  I am sure they will tell you that it was all Mrs. Fuller’s fault.

In the meantime, people will be having their cases heard by this Judge.  They will go into court expecting a fair trial from a Judge that should be in jail for abusing his wife.  NFL players should be suspended, punished and/or fired for their abusive actions.  So should Federal Judges.  Yet, as usual, the double-standards in these kinds of cases remains fully visible for all to see.

 

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The NFL is still taking heat over domestic abuse problems.  And, they should take heat for it.  As they struggle to get a grip on the problem, basically their perceived problem of bad publicity, they continue to show just how inconsistent their policies on this issue really are.  As you all know by now, Adrian Peterson was charged with negligent injury of a child for using a switch on his 4 year old son to discipline him.  An arrest warrant was issued on Thursday.  He voluntarily turned himself into law enforcement.  The Minnesota Vikings deactivated him for Sunday’s game.  But, they have reactivated him this week.

As usual, the NFL has done nothing yet.  Besides doing nothing, the NFL hasn’t even said a word about it.  They are apparently “investigating” the situation before making any announcement.  Ray Rice is still suspended indefinitely, but he filed an appeal yesterday.  In these two cases, the league is standing behind their “due process” language saying they really can’t do much until due process has been completed.  There is another case in San Francisco against a 49er player for domestic abuse as well who played on Sunday night against the Bears.

Even if we buy into the “due process” argument, how can the NFL use that argument with Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers?  Greg Hardy was accused of choking his then girlfriend and drug her around by the hair and threatened to kill her.  Hardy was “convicted” in a one day bench trail in Charlotte.  He received 18 months of probation and a 60-day suspended sentence for the misdemeanors he was charged with.  He is appealing the decision and asking for a trial by jury.  Yet, the Carolina Panthers waited until the last-minute to deactivate him.  Even though he was deactivated to play Sunday, he was still paid by the team.

The Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, while accepting a civic award last week, began to cry while speaking about domestic violence.  “When it comes to domestic violence, my stance is not one of indifference. I stand firmly against domestic violence, plain and simple,” he told the audience in Charlotte. “To those who would suggest we’ve been too slow to act, I ask that you consider not to be too quick to judge.”  At that time, Hardy was still eligible to play.

What is the major difference in all of these cases?  The Ray Rice incident had video.  The Adrian Peterson incident has pictures and tweets from Peterson.  The Hardy case and the one in San Francisco have neither video or pictures or tweets.  As a result, the NFL can hide behind their “due process” garbage without too much public outrage because there isn’t anything to show what happened.

I was particularly struck watching the pre-game shows on Sunday.  The one I was really interested in was the NBC pre-game show because it had Tony Dungy on it.  Dungy talked about how he “asked his players to be honest with him” when he had situations come up with Colts players.  He bragged about how they let one player go and punished another.  If I had been able to ask a question of him, I would have asked about the “distractions” these cases brought to the team.  Remember, Dungy said he would not draft an openly gay player because he didn’t want to put up with the “distractions” that would bring.

On Monday night football on ESPN, they had the audacity to question Ray Lewis about his thoughts about domestic violence.  I say the audacity because it was Ray Lewis, former player for the Ravens, who was wrapped up in a murder one Super Bowl Sunday.  He only escaped being part of the defense in an agreement to testify against those involved.  I would think that would sort of disqualify his opinion on domestic violence.

When it comes to handling social issues, this conflict shows exactly why the NFL can’t seem to handle these problems.  The NFL is not alone in this problem either.  They have a very willing partner in the NFLPA.  The NFLPA is very willing to negotiate punishments in their contract for things like drug use or performance enhancing drugs, yet they are loathsome to negotiate punishments for Domestic Violence.  The NFLPA is backing Ray Rice in his appeal and have remained silent on the Hardy incident, as well as others.

It has been suggested that any player who is arrested for domestic violence be deactivated, with pay, throughout the “due process”.  That is an idea that I support.  Players should not be allowed to participate in activities until their cases are resolved one way or the other.  By deactivating them they do not lose any money.  That takes away the argument of punishing them before their case is resolved.

But, in the Hardy case, there already has been a conviction.  So why is the NFL dragging its feet?  “If the NFL is saying there hasn’t been disposition (of the case), I think they’re ducking the issue,” Belmont Abbey law professor Steve Ward told Sports Illustrated. Ward, who is a former prosecutor in Charlotte, North Carolina, told SI that fewer than 5% of bench trials are appealed and Hardy is manipulating the system.

We all know that football is a violent sport.  But, that does not mean that it needs to be filled with men who abuse their family members.  The type of violence on the football field is not comparative to domestic violence.  Beating someone up is hardly the same as tackling a running back.  The league has a long roster of players who are what some would call “model citizens.”  It is this majority of players that are being disrespected by the NFL and the NFLPA.

The NFL and the NFLPA are going to keep their heads in the sand on this issue simply because deactivating these players, some of whom are vital pieces of their teams success, will only hurt the bottom line of their product.  And, until sponsors start saying enough is enough, the league will continue it pathetic path of inconsistent policy in these matters.

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