NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell exercised the extraordinary power of his office yesterday and brought down his huge hammer with thunderous force.
And, the shocking sound of his proposed bold new sanctions for offending players resonated all across America today.
Goodell announced the NFL’s new domestic abuse policy that should sting all repugnant, battering players with the same shocking wallop as their unexpected, abusive physical attacks perpetrated upon physically weaker women and children.
NFL players will now be suspended for six games for their first domestic abuse offense and banished from the league for life if a second offense occurs.
When the NY Daily News asked about his enacting these harsher penalties in the wake of the ridiculous leniency he showed toward Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice with a mere two game suspension for knocking out his fiancé in an Atlantic City elevator, Goodell responded, “I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.”
This week, Roger Goodell certainly did get it right.
Kudos to the Commish for raising not only the NFL’s personal conduct policy, but also raising our nation’s societal bar for valuing and protecting women and children.
As our country’s most popular professional sports league, the NFL, along with its seemingly ubiquitous television coverage, represents the best vehicle to raise national awareness of the hideous, but far too pervasive, subject of domestic abuse.
According to a USA Today report, “Every year, 1.3 million women are victims of domestic abuse, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Almost a third of women who are murdered are killed by what the NCADV calls “an intimate partner.”
It’s not just women who suffer the consequences, either. According to the NCADV, boys who witness domestic violence are twice as likely to become abusers as adults.”
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft seized the moment to praise the Commissioner’s bold and courageous decision.
Incredulously, not all NFL fans and even the NFL Players Association supported Goodell.
According to the NY Times, the N.F.L. Players Association, which has often been at loggerheads with the commissioner over his penalties for players, did not publicly endorse Goodell’s tougher stance. In a statement, the union said only that it was informed of the NFL’s decision and that “if we believe that players’ due process rights are infringed upon during the course of discipline, we will assert and defend our members’ rights.”
The NFLPA statement is terribly unsettling. The players’ union should have immediately vocalized support and validated Goodell’s need to implement a new policy. The union should have issued a statement to decry domestic violence and to acknowledge that its players understand the importance of the Commissioner’s bold social statement. However, they failed to concur with the Commish on a topic brimming with critical social consequence.
I applaud the Commissioner’s action. It’s the right move. Goodell’s gumption should be seen as a clarion call, a provocative social message and a late but much needed statement demonizing the ugly, odious behavior that lurks beneath the surface in volatile relationships and sadly hurts too many families in our country.
Though the Commissioner’s office has come under intense scrutiny over the past few years, Goodell’s stringent new policy sends the strongest of messages from our country’s most powerful professional sports platform that domestic abuse will NOT be tolerated.
MIKE – thee ultimate talking head on sports!