Behavior Matters: NFL Suspensions


Integrity is what you do when nobody’s watching.


Especially when you are a role model for young players and fans of your team, your integrity should mean a great deal to you.  The integrity of several players in the National Football League is being questioned as a result of their actions in violation with the domestic violence policies of the league.


It brings to light an environment in which domestic violence crimes are punishable only by multi-game suspensions. This does not help professional athletes learn from their past mistakes at all, and in some cases, creates a mindset where it’s okay to commit similar crimes if they know they won’t be too harshly punished.  Something needs to be done to show both the NFL executives and players that their actions should be justly accounted for and that no bad deed should go unpunished – because at the end of the day, behavior matters.


Over the course of the summer, into training camp, and into preseason, the issue of domestic violence cases committed by active players came to the forefront of many NFL teams as well as the office of Commissioner Roger Goodell. However, the responses of these groups have been highly criticized.


First off, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was arrested for assaulting his fiancee Janay Palmer (now his wife) at a casino in New Jersey in February.  The NFL suspended Rice for two games in July, sparking a heated debate on social media and within the league itself about how serious the crime of domestic violence should be treated.


In June, Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Greg Hardy was arrested for beating and threatening to kill his girlfriend.  What was Greg Hardy doing last Sunday, you ask? Was he suspended like Rice? No- he was making tackles against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with no discipline from either the league or the Panthers.


Finally, Ray McDonald, a defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, was arrested in August for hitting his pregnant fiancee, yet no NFL punishment has been enacted.


Commissioner Roger Goodell of the National Football League credit:

Through these three incidents, you would think it would be obvious to the NFL that something needs to be done to combat the issue of domestic violence. Unfortunately, the NFL feels it has to wait until major controversy arises before they take any action.  It took the extreme backlash of the Ray Rice suspension to create a new domestic violence policy in which players endure a 6 game suspension for a first offense and then a lifetime ban for a second offense. It required the physical video from the elevator in which Rice assaulted his wife for him to be cut by the Ravens and suspended from the NFL indefinitely. To the credit of the Carolina Panthers, Greg Hardy was deactivated for their Week 2 matchup against the Detroit Lions in lieu of his conviction.


The NFL needs to make steps to limit the number of rising domestic violence cases.  The steps taken by the NFL mentioned previously were in response to a growing problem.  Now that these measures are in place, the NFL must make sure that they enforce those suspensions and numerous penalties meant to battle the domestic violence issue.  Let the integrities of professional football players have a positive impact so that we can rest assured knowing that our nation’s children are looking up to worthy role models.


As Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shows their image.” Behavior matters, not just in the NFL, but every part of life, and there is nothing that is ever going to change that.  Here at St. Luke’s, we can take these lessons to heart, and make sure that we all learn what type of behavior should be accepted within our school community and when we go forth to serve in the world beyond SLS.


— Porter Bowman, Staff Writer

Posted by on October 2, 2014. Filed under Op-Ed,Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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