The NFL Needs to Send a Resounding MessagePosted by Brant Johnson on September 17, 2014 | Comments (2)
Although we’re only two weeks into the NFL season, the league continues to fumble the ball. Evidence of domestic violence and accusations of child abuse have rightfully overshadowed the start of a new season.
By now, you’ve likely seen the video of Baltimore’s Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancée, Janay, unconscious in an elevator. Initially, Rice was only given a two-game suspension for the incident. But pressure from the media and general public has now resulted in an indefinite ban from the league for Rice.
On the heels of the Rice controversy, the NFL has faced another challenge due to the child abuse allegations surrounding Vikings player Adrian Peterson. His situation has gone from bad to worse over the past few days, with not one but two of his children now alleging violence against their superstar father. Peterson has been declared exempt, preventing him from taking part in any team activities for an indefinite time period.
These recent incidents have put the NFL in full damage control mode. The league has hired a group of women to strengthen the league’s domestic violence awareness and other social programs. But, is that enough? And is it too little, too late?
Some sponsors may be starting to think so; Anheuser-Busch released the following statement yesterday:
“Another sponsor, CoverGirl, has opted to continue its support of the NFL, resulting in widespread memes that threaten to ignite an enormous amount of bad PR for a brand that prides itself on celebrating women. A CoverGirl representative has said, “In light of recent events, we have encouraged the NFL to take swift action on their path forward to address the issue of domestic violence.”
— glick23 (@23Glick) September 13, 2014
So, where does the NFL go from here? For starters, a petition is currently circulating to have the league wear purple ribbons in October to support domestic violence awareness, in addition to pink they annually wear in support of breast cancer awareness. The purple ribbons are something the NFL should already be implementing on its own, even without the petition.
Last week on national television, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “People expect a lot from the NFL, we accept that. We embrace that. That’s our opportunity to make a difference not just in the NFL, but in society in general.”
With that statement, Goodell needs to step up and take quick action or remove himself from office. The league needs to look at how the NBA handled the Roger Sterling case – by taking swift, resounding action and sending a message that these acts of violence will not be tolerated.