Why is it that more attention is paid to NFL players that kneel during the National Anthem than is paid to players’ acts of violence towards women? I’m a patriot myself and I do not agree with players kneeling for the Anthem. However, I think it’s a slap in the face to the women in our country to stay silent with all of the acts of domestic violence, yet boycott the NFL when players kneel.
When the Issue Became Highlighted
Since the 2014 Ray Rice domestic issue that didn’t garner any true results until the nation saw the video, there has been 26 players arrested for domestic violence. While I do not agree with a player losing their career for what I hope was a mistake, I don’t see a problem with being suspended for a half to a whole season. There has to be a deterrent! Have we become such an optic society that we need a visual for us to understand impact? 26 players since 2014 may not seem like a lot of domestic violence, but, I challenge those who may believe that to be the case to find another industry other than Hollywood and politics, where that number of assaults on women takes place at such a number. That is roughly 6.5 acts of domestic violence per year.
Typically, employers do not risk hiring those with a history of domestic violence. Proven by its own actions, the NFL not only hires players with domestic violence issues, but they also attempt to hide from the public charges filed against their players. Leaving it to teams to take action once the charges or video becomes public, sometimes months later. Sadly, for some of the NFL players, their domestic violence issues go back to their college playing days. Six players in the 2017 NFL draft came into the league carrying with them accusations of violence against women. Some of the cases are still ongoing.
Who are the main Perpetrators
Before I go any further, I should explain why I started this article with players that kneel during the National Anthem. What disturbs me about the violence against women among NFL players is, the overwhelming majority of cases involves black players. The same group of players that started kneeling during the Anthem, and stating their reasons as oppression against black people and police violence against black people. Of the 26 violence against women cases in the NFL that I previously mentioned, a mere three cases did not involve black players. With this in mind, it is hard to claim that blows to the head or being trained to be aggressive are the leading causes of domestic violence in the NFL. No matter the race of a player they are trained the same and take the same blows to the head. That is not to say that in some cases those aren’t the culprits, but they’re obviously not the leading causes. While conducting research for this article, Mike Pierce, friend, owner and CEO of the new Conservative social media network Red Elephant, put on my mind the use of steroids in the NFL as being a possible culprit that causes domestic violence with NFL players. Information on steroid use in the NFL is very hard to find. Luckily, I did find a short article from Sports Illustrated online that featured quotes by retired Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George. Speaking about steroid use George says, “I think it’s very rampant”. He went on to say, “I think it’s very prevalent. I mean it’s tough for me to put my mind around somebody that can come back from an injury that takes typically a year to heal from in three, four months.” Eddie George is the one player that has attributed rising domestic violence in the NFL to more players taking steroids.
Focus on the Issue and NOT the Player
You may be wondering why I’ve not mentioned any of the players involved with domestic violence after Ray Rice. As I stated earlier, I do not believe a player should lose their career because of what I hope are incidents of bad judgement. If kicking Ray Rice out of the league was meant to be a deterrent, Roger Goodell failed terribly! The simple answer I can give is, because the issue of domestic violence in the NFL is more important than singling out players. I believe focusing on individual players instead of the issue is part of the reason domestic violence in the NFL is not being addressed by the public. I also believe it is the reason NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has not implemented a true deterrent in the league policy. From January 26, 2017, to November 11,2018, there have been 21 NFL players charged with domestic violence, domestic assault, assault, and also battery. These players were charged, not necessarily arrested like the 26 previously mentioned players. Of the 21 cases, ten have undetermined resolutions. Seven players had their charges dropped or dismissed. Four players plead guilty or no contest. Out of the 21 players three were released or waived by their teams.
My intent with this article is not to bastardize the NFL or any of its players. I do not pretend to have the answers or cures. What I do have is the platform I have created that I hope will begin the discussion about domestic violence in the NFL. If addressed appropriately, it will not only help women involved with NFL players, but it will also help the players themselves. My fear is that, should we continue to not address the issue, drafting NFL players may possibly change leading to less black players being drafted. It is plausible given the way the numbers have already dropped due to kneeling. To me it seems that the numbers started to comeback only to once again dwindle as of the latest domestic violence issues involving two NFL stars. Lets do women, the players, the nation, and the reputation of the NFL a favor, and no longer neglect the very serious issue of domestic violence in the NFL.