Guest Blogger, Bruce Braun writes:
I’ve been a fan of the NFL since childhood, but no longer. It is not because the 49er’s charge $117 a pop for one ticket and parking can easily be $50. Violence on the field is one thing, but that is where it should stop. Ray Rice has become a metaphor for the daily violence we see in our country. Tolerance has effectively become tacit license by the NFL management and owners for players to commit crimes off the field. Sit out a few games, pay a fine? No big deal when you are being paid $10M a year. “I was drunk, lost my head, but I now see the error of my transgressions and promise to not do it again.” Bullshit!
Enough is enough.
In every other profession, new hires are subject to reference checks, applications inquire if the applicant has ever been arrested or convicted of felonies, etc. Why not the NFL?
If Roger and the owners were really concerned about players being arrested, charged or convicted, consideration ought to be given to a more comprehensive screening of players before hiring them. Cops have to pass psychological and criminal background checks, government security clearances draw similar scrutiny.
I submit the following for just the last 12 months that should prove sufficient for more screening than just playing ability. My source is http://www.utsandiego.com/nfl/arrests-database/.
Ray McDonald, defensive tackle, San Francisco 49ers. Arrested Aug. 31 on suspicion of felony domestic violence in San Jose, Calif.
Greg Hardy, defensive end, Carolina Panthers. Arrested May 13 on two misdemeanor charges after he allegedly assaulted and threatened his ex-girlfriend.
Ray Rice, running back, Baltimore Ravens. Arrested and charged Feb. 15 after striking his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, in an Atlantic City casino elevator.
A.J. Jefferson, cornerback, Minnesota Vikings. Arrested and charged Nov. 25, 2013 with one felony count of domestic violence following a fight with his girlfriend.
Daryl Washington, linebacker, Arizona Cardinals. Arrested May 3, 2013 for assault after an argument with his ex-girlfriend in her Phoenix apartment.
Amari Spievey, safety, Detroit Lions. Arrested March 26, 2013 for third-degree assault, risk of injury to a child, disorderly conduct after a child-support argument in Middleton, Conn., his hometown.
Michael Boley, linebacker, New York Giants. Arrested Feb. 8, 2013 on child abuse charges in Etowah County, Ala., three days after being cut by the team.
Leroy Hill, linebacker, Seattle Seahawks. Arrested Jan. 29, 2013 on two felony counts of domestic violence after an incident with his girlfriend in his Issaquah home.
Chris Rainey, running back, Pittsburgh Steelers. Arrested Jan. 10, 2013 and charged with misdemeanor simple battery after an altercation with his girlfriend in Gainesville, Fla.
Robert Sands, defensive back, Cincinnati Bengals. Arrested Jan. 4, 2013 and charged with fourth-degree assault after an altercation with his wife in their Florence, Ky home.
Bryan Thomas, linebacker, New York Jets. Arrested Oct. 31, 2012 and charged with aggravated assault of his wife and drug charges in Randolph, N.J.
And recently, we read Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson beat his 4-year-old son with a tree branch as a form of punishment this summer, an incident that allegedly resulted in multiple injuries to the child. According to reports, Peterson has been indicted in Montgomery County, Texas for injury to a child.
What about former New England Patriot, Arron Hernandez who is currently being held without bail following his indictment on three murder charges?
Would Michael Vick be playing in the NFL today if TMZ had broadcast video of his tossing cash bets as dogs tore each other apart?
I can’t fathom any corporation with an employee arrest record like the NFL. How many companies would continue to employ persons exhibiting behaviors such as those above? Only a zero-tolerance policy on assaults, battery, drugs, drunk driving, weapons charges, and domestic violence will ever send the proper message to players. Game suspensions and fines don’t cut it.
We should keep in mind the League enjoys an anti-trust exemption that enables individual teams to not compete for TV revenues with other teams, that it has benfitted hugely by taxpayer bonds to fund stadiums and their improvements, that it is the beneficiary of numerous federal state and city taxes and that it has misrepresented the seriousness of brain concussions for years until very recently, like this week.
Football has become a game in which millions live out their fantasies of “killing the opposition”, has become too powerful and too violent and is becoming a metaphor for American ignorance and aggression.
What say you Roger, other than using terms like ambiguous?