Football: a great American game in which grown men collide with each other, where toughness and consistency are rewarded.
They are two attributes that the NFL admires and welcomes. However, it’s also a pair of traits that the league is lacking when it comes to handing down punishments for domestic violence cases.
The most recent incident involves New York Giants kicker Josh Brown, who was recently re-signed by the team, despite the franchise’s knowledge about his pending domestic violence arrest.
The league, which claims to be more strict towards these type of offenders after the Ray Rice case, handed the 37-year old kicker a measly one-game suspension. On top of that, Giants owner John Mara has publicly defended his kicker and the rationale behind keeping him on the team despite the knowledge of possible domestic violence.
The Giants knew about his arrest and the circumstances surrounding this issue. To voluntarily keep him along when there is an abundance of kickers in free agency is morally reckless. It’s irresponsible.
Congratulations Roger Goodell, John Mara, and the New York Giants, for helping the NFL drop the ball once again when it comes to dealing with these type of issues. You haven’t done a spectacular job of policing these cases and with each claim and revised rule to show promise — you take three steps back.
Brown was arrested in May 2015 for assault. It wasn’t the first time the police had been called to his residence, doing so for numerous occasions for similar reasons over the years.
Molly Brown, his now ex-wife, told police that he had abused her on 20 separate occasions. She and her husband sought counseling since 2013, and in 2014 after much progress, he sent a letter to friends admitting to the abuse. It seemed like he relapsed.
The NFL decided to launch its own investigation, but Molly Brown and law enforcement were not available for comment. As a result, the league felt that it had insufficient evidence to hold Brown accountable, settling for the one-game suspension.
After the Ray Rice incident, the league implemented a new domestic violence policy.
According to the rules, first-time offenders are handed a six-game suspension. Multiple offenses can result in longer suspensions — even removal from the league.
It was a much-needed revision after the league was under scrutiny for giving Rice a soft two-game punishment for knocking out his then-fiancee in an elevator. Rice became a league-wide example. He was suspended for the whole season, after much more deliberation. The NFL got it right, even though it took the league a little while. Another instance was with Adrian Peterson a few years ago. He was convicted of reckless injury to a child after reports came out that he had beat his son with a switch. Peterson appeared in only one game, before being yanked for the rest of the 2014-15 season.
In those cases, the NFL had evidence. In the Brown case, the league claims to not have enough. But that hasn’t stopped the league before from handing down suspensions.
The most notable instance was with Greg Hardy. He went through a trial after his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder, said that he was abusive and threatened to kill her with his collection of loaded assault rifles. Eventually the charges against Hardy were dropped, as she failed to testify against him. It was revealed that the two reached a civil settlement. The exact timeline of events for that night is blurry, as both Hardy and Holder have disclosed only limited details.
However, the NFL launched its own investigation into the matter. Although what truly happened that night is only known by Hardy and Holder, the league handed Hardy a 10-game suspension anyway. In July, just before the 2015-16 season, that suspension was cut down to just four games.
The Carolina Panthers released him, but he found a new home with the Dallas Cowboys. Amidst the controversy, Hardy did his time but was then reinstated and welcomed by adoring Dallas fans. On November 5, 2015, the domestic violence charges and lawsuit were expunged from his record, and he was able to walk cleanly.
However, the next day, graphic photographs of Holder after the attack were released to the
public. Deep purple and blue bruises covered her body.
Despite this new information, the league didn’t further his suspension — which was not very consistent with how it treated Peterson.
Also, the NFL finally had concrete evidence once the photos were released but failed to act.
The league is going soft once again. The one-game suspension of Brown is a joke. If he truly did assault his ex-wife on 20 separate occasions, the punishment does not add up. There are four 15-minute quarters in a NFL game, totaling 60 minutes of live action. Mathematically speaking, he’s only being punished three minutes for each attack. That’s obscene.
The league implements this new domestic violence code of conduct, and yet, it’s not even implementing the six-game suspension without pay that first-time offenders should be receiving.
Goodell and the NFL was ready to hand a group of players four-game suspensions a couple of weeks ago if they didn’t come talk to league officials about PED accusations. There were claims made without concrete evidence and the league was ready to go on a witch hunt for a group of individuals who may be falsely accused. It’s a harsh punishment for not agreeing to a simple interview to clear up a misunderstanding, yet the sentence was about to be four-times greater than the one Brown was getting for domestic violence.
Tom Brady will be serving a four-game suspension at the beginning of this season for destroying his phone that the NFL wanted to seize for an investigation. Le’Veon Bell got a three-game ban for missing a drug test. Josh Gordon is about to spend over half of his NFL career suspended due to repeatedly failing drug tests. Once he serves his four-game ban to start this season, he will have served a combined 36 games suspended, which is one more than the number of games he played in.
Marijuana and a broken phone are not more valuable than a human life, but that seems to be the standard Commissioner Goodall is setting.
You cannot claim that you care about the fans when 45 percent of the most watched sport in America’s fanbase are women.
You cannot parade these players around in October, dressing them up in pink, to show the league cares about women and the fight against breast cancer. In reality, no matter how much pink merchandise the NFL sells, only a tiny percentage of sales actually goes to breast cancer societies, while the rest is pocketed by the league.
The sight of Greg Hardy playing in games this past October was straight up hypocrisy. The same thing will happen when Brown takes the field wearing pink.
Brown attacked his ex-wife far more times than Gordon failed drug tests. The kicker is spending less than three-percent of the time Gordon has spent punished.
The math, the logic, and the reasoning are not adding up.
Brown is not even getting a slap on the wrist, he’s just getting a few minutes in the time out corner.
“Domestic violence is something that we’re all cracking down on in this league,” said Giants head coach Ben McAdoo back in January, after getting the job. “That’s something that’s important to us as an organization, important to me as a man, and important to me as a coach.”