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NFL needs to toughen policies

Ryan Sartori, Sports Editor

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As of late, the NFL has been under fire for their interceding, or lack there-of, on player affairs.

Since last year’s Super Bowl, there have been 28 arrests on NFL players for a variety of offenses; including six DWI/DUI arrests, three arrests on domestic abuse, and a long list of drug-related arrests.

And to spice things up in the off-season, Aldon Smith of the San Francisco 49er’s decided to step outside of the norm, and got arrested for yelling bomb in an airport.

The vast majority of all 28 charges were either dropped or are still to be absolved.

The problem that many fans and media members are having with all of this is not the arrests, but what the NFL does to correct the wrongs made by its players.

Exhibit A: Ray Rice.

Ray Rice makes his money running the football for the Baltimore Ravens of the AFC North division. On Feb. 15 he and his then fiancée, now wife, Janay Palmer attended an Atlantic City Casino. All that was known at the end of that night was that Rice and Palmer were in a “minor physical altercation” according to Rice’s attorney. Rice and Palmer were both arrested and released that night.

Four days later video surfaced of Rice dragging Janay Palmer from an elevator. Police also said they had obtained a video that showed Rice knocking Palmer out while in the elevator, but that was not released to the public.

It wasn’t until March 24 that the situation was addressed by Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and said that Rice would “definitely be back”.

And it wasn’t until two days later that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell commented on the situation, explaining that he wasn’t sure if there would be punishment on Rice. A discipline hearing would be held on June 16 after Rice’s charges were upped to aggravated assault.

There was much speculation that the NFL saw the elevator video around the end of July and failed to discipline Rice then.

And then on Sept 8 TMZ leaked the elevator video to the public, showing Rice spitting in his wife’s face and then maliciously punching her in the face twice, knocking her out. Later that day Rice was released from the Ravens, and suspended indefinitely by the NFL.

Exhibit B: Josh Gordon

The Josh Gordon incident is much more mellow than Ray Rice’s two punch KO. Back on May 9 Gordon tested positive for marijuana on a league mandated drug test. At the time he neither accepted nor denied the alleged report. The only thing heard from his behalf was from his agent who said the report was “not right.”

This isn’t Gordon’s first rodeo with the NFL’s substance abuse policy though, last year the Cleveland Browns wide receiver was suspended the first two games of the 2013 season for the use of cough syrup mixed with a banned substance.

Shortly following the failed test Cleveland Brown’s owner Jimmy Haslam said that Gordon may be in trouble now, but will be with the team “for a long time.”

Gordon partook in off-season training activities with the team as his suspension loomed.

Much time was spent “reporting” just how long Gordon’s suspension would be. At the beginning it was half the season, then it was guessed to be twelve games.

He played through the majority of preseason festivities.

Finally in late August the NFL announced that Gordon would be suspended for the entire 2014 season.

As most players normally do, Gordon decided to take his case to the appeals court. His defense? He had the drug in his system due to secondhand smoke.

As expected, the NFL denied his appeal, but all hope was not lost for Gordon on playing in the 2014 season.

On Sept. 12 the NFL’s drug policy was changed, and Gordon’s suspension was dropped to just 10 games, which means he’ll be eligible for the final six games of this season.

The point being made here is how ridiculous it is that a domestic abuse case took way longer to resolve than a drug-related incident. As soon as it happened, even if it was mild abuse at first, the NFL should have put that as their main focus.

Now Roger Goodell is the bad guy because he didn’t suspend Rice after seeing all the video.

Somehow smoking pot trumps beating your soon-to-be wife unconscious.

Even with the new rules in place the NFL has not done enough.

Do you really want that kind of person representing your league? Major League Baseball banned Pete Rose, the all-time hits leader, for life after he was caught betting on the game he played. And that’s a minor offense compared to punching your wife in the face. Rose is yet to be reinstated back into baseball, while Rice can apply to be reinstated at the end of this NFL season.

It seems like the Rice case got put on the back burner, and isn’t being taken as seriously as it should despite its severity.

The NFL has a lot of thinking to do about whether or not their punishments are harsh enough, whether or not they want a person like Ray Rice representing their league, and whether or not Rice even deserves another chance.








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NFL needs to toughen policies