Protect the shield. Protect the $9 billion business.
Despite the importance for its teams to win on the field, the NFL has proven that the above two phrases are all that matters. Last week the NFL announced its new domestic violence policy, which suspends a player for six games for his first offense, and the player, coach or executive receives a lifetime ban with a second offense.
Are you ready for some football? After its summer, I bet the NFL is.
Finally, the NFL is taking domestic violence seriously. At least, on the surface it's trying to.
It only took the biggest gaffe in recent memory for this to occur. For the past few months, talk around the league has been about Ray Rice, and not for his play on the field. The Ravens pro bowl running back was seen on security cameras entering a Las Vegas elevator with his girlfriend. When Rice exited the elevator, he was dragging his girlfriend barbarically, leading to speculation he knocked her out in the elevator.
Rice didn't exactly clear his name. Soon after the events, he said at a press conference that he didn't want to relive that moment in time.
NFL commissioners followed that with an embarrassing two-game suspension. Miami Dolphins defensive end Dion Jordan received a four-game ban for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy, and Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon will not suit up this season due to repeated marijuana offenses.
Thus at a glance, the NFL believes smoking marijuana and taking steroids are a more serious offense than domestic violence.
Enter, Goodell. Protect the shield.
The new policy was formulated over months, supposedly, and Goodell admits that he made a mistake in the Rice punishment. This is far from the first domestic violence committed by an NFL player, however. It's an offense that happens far too often in the league. This policy appears to be solid in the realm of domestic violence. However, it's concerning that it also includes assault charges and other crimes.
Had this policy been in place for the past decade, many players would be facing lifetime bans. Is that what the league needs? Does two bar fights over the length of a long career really deserve a lifetime ban? That is what the NFL created. Typical Goodell.
The NFL has a domestic violence problem.
This policy is a start in correcting it, but it's a few years too late. As long as I have watched the game, I have heard of players assaulting women.
Like how Adam Silver acted quickly in the NBA with Donald Sterling, Goodell has the chance to do the right thing.
But will he?
Are you ready for some football?