The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

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The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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NFL Scandals

The last few weeks for the National Football League have been a disaster to say the least. Three domestic violence scandals and a case of child abuse have made the NFL seem like it is running off the rails.  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is coming under immense scrutiny for his actions in handling these controversies.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice started the string of scandals for the NFL on Feb. 15 when he and his wife got into a domestic dispute in an elevator in Atlantic City, N.J.  Soon after video was released of Rice dragging his unconscious fiancé out of the elevator, Rice was indicted on aggravated assault charges in March.

Rice was allowed to be part of a pre-trial intervention program; upon its 12-month completion, the charges will be expunged from his record.  The NFL would only suspend him from two games for his actions.

The lenient punishment given out by Goodell rightly caused outrage across the nation. Goodell’s actions would come back to haunt him, though.

Because of the pressures on him, Goodell implemented a new domestic violence policy in August. First time offenders would get a six-game suspension and second time offenders would be banned for life.

On Sept. 8, video surfaced of Rice punching his than [w1] fiancé in the face. Rice would be released by the Ravens and would be suspended indefinitely by the NFL on the same day for his actions. Rice is currently appealing his suspension.

The NFL and Baltimore Ravens denied knowing anything of the video of Rice punching his girlfriend, but ESPN reported on Sept. 19 that the Ravens Director of Security knew about the elevator assault footage hours after it occurred.

Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Greg Hardy was found guilty of domestic assault in July for choking and threatening his girlfriend.  Hardy was sentenced to 18 months probation and is appealing the sentence.  Hardy has taken a voluntary and paid leave of absence because of the scrutiny the league is receiving involving his case.

Goodell said in his long awaited Sept. 19 press conference that because Hardy is appealing his sentence, the guilty plea is wiped clear.

I don’t see how this makes any sense at all. Hardy was proven guilty! Until a jury proves him innocent, he shouldn’t be getting paid or allowed to represent the NFL in any way.

Probably the best running back in the NFL, Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings was charged on Sept. 12 with the felony of beating his 4-year-old son. The Vikings deactivated Peterson for the past two weekends of games, but the NFL has yet to levy a punishment on the six-time Pro Bowl running back.

The most recent incident the NFL has had to deal with involves Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer and his domestic violence arrest on Sept. 17. Dwyer is facing five charges all related to domestic violence. The one that is really shocking and cringe-worthy is a charge involving the assault of his 18-month-old child.

The Cardinals immediately deactivated Dwyer for this past week’s game.

The policies of Roger Goodell and his administration have basically shown the public that it is okay to commit violent acts in the NFL and not get a harsh punishment by the league.

Young children look up to these men and see them go around harming others and then still playing football without severe penalty. These guys are showing the younger generation that it’s okay to commit violent acts. They should get the same sentencing you and I would get if we were to commit these crimes—but everyone knows that wouldn’t happen. Professional athletes get these unfair perks that no one deserves.

Goodell announced during his Sept. 19 press confrence that the league would be bringing in professionals to educate all the players, coaches and personnel on domestic violence.

The league is also partnering with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource to help better form the NFL’s domestic violence policies.

Goodell knows these policies must work or at this time next season the NFL will have someone else in charge.

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About the Contributor
Stephen Zitolo, Sports Editor
Sports Editor:
Stephen is a senior Journalism major who intends for the sports section to continue to be the number one source for Red Storm sports in the St. John's community. He intends to increase readership of the section and the newspaper as a whole by including more human interest stories in the section.
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