Domestic Violence in the NFL

Does the NFL really care about their players and their families? With the recent Ray Rice scandal I would say that the NFL needs a better plan. The NFL needs a new image. It’s not a company’s job to monitor their employee’s home life. That’s a huge invasion of privacy.

However, they can start creating a culture of an organization that promotes good family values. Just because the NFL can get the entire family together on Sunday during football season doesn’t mean they’ve created that culture of good family values. The culture can start with seminars and mandatory stipulations in the contracts that violent behavior whether it’s towards a man or woman is not tolerated. Otherwise, does the NFL deserve all of the sponsors that they have?

Football is America. It’s a huge staple of American culture and dinner table conversations. People can talk about it for hours and days without having anything else in common. The NFL images of a wife being knocked out cold is not the image that the NFL should stand for.

No one can predict which employee has deeper issues at home, but offering counseling services, both financial and emotional, can help people cope with their issues instead of covering them up. Covering up an incident to protect the brand shows that the players are mere commodities. Embracing the players and their families with their flaws to help them improve their lives shows that the players are American athletes worthy of being discussed at dinner.

Pass me the salt while watching the game at dinner shouldn’t end with a nine-year-old boy watching a clip of TMZ’s video showing Ray Rice punching his fiancé. Everyone has demons. The NFL’s prior track record of trying to cover them up and continue on with business as usual isn’t working.

Was Ray Rice suspended because of the potential mental illness that he may have if he is an abuser? If so that’s a serious liability for the NFL unless it was in a clause. If Ray Rice does have a problem, and admits he has a problem, then can persons suffering from mental illnesses be terminated and/or suspended? Was Ray Rice really suspended due to the NFL removing itself from the embarrassment of the alleged minimal punishment? Is Ray Rice, a man with a great deal of personal demons, the NFL scapegoat?

I worry about the family that clearly has a lot of issues and will now add financial struggles to the list. I worry, as I have already stated, about Janay Rice who’s going home tonight with Rice. I worry that the NFL will merely bow to the pressure of public opinion and the aftermath could be devastating. For the NFL suspension of Rice is still protecting the brand. There’s nothing about protecting the families that are left struggling. What will happen to Janay? Was the NFL so concerned about protecting the image that they didn’t bother to ask? Rice will indubitably lose all sponsorships, and who will he have to blame when more deals are lost other than his wife? Are there others like Rice struggling with their demons? Does the NFL promote a culture that can lead to domestic violence?

What happens when the next domestic violence dispute surfaces? Will the NFL suspend everyone that is part of a broken home or only the ones that had it leaked? It’s a tricky situation. No one wants to be attached to a man who sucker punches a woman for any reason. Not even Olivia Pope from the show Scandal could undo the horror of Ray Rice knocking his wife out, but what if the NFL had counseling services in place before then?

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