NFL and Discipline

In recent months, the NFL has made a couple of decisions regarding player discipline that has caused some controversy and brought up the question: Has the NFL been doing a good job disciplining their players?

Kyle Nichols

Each day, I feel I wake up to a new National Football League fiasco. Over the past few weeks, the NFL has had some tough situations on their hands. There is the Ray Rice domestic abuse issue and now the Adrian Peterson child abuse issue.

The way the NFL commissioner has handled these situations has got a lot of backlash. Roger Goodell, who is the NFL commissioner, is usually a no-nonsense guy, who is never afraid to make the unpopular decision. Being a no-nonsense guy, many would have expected a huge fine and suspension when the first video got leaked of the Ray Rice incident; instead, the commissioner gave Rice a two-game suspension.

About a month later a new video got leaked and it lead to an indefinite suspension for Rice. Many people are now calling for Goodell to step down as commissioner; many believe that Goodell will not be able to recover after this fiasco. Some are saying he is an awful person others are saying that he is bad for the NFL.

I would argue that he is not a bad person or bad for the league. Over Goodell’s time as commissioner he has made the game much safer. He has made players be much more accountable and does not shy away from making players pay for their mistakes. Roger Goodell has made some questionable decisions recently, but don’t we all make questionable decisions at times?

I am not Roger Goodell, you are not Roger Goodell and the media is not Roger Goodell. So when everyone thinks he should have done this or that differently at the end of the day we are not Roger Goodell and we truly do not know the full story or circumstance.

I believe Goodell will have a hard time recovering from these situations and that may lead to his resignation but I do not believe that as of now Roger Goodell should get fired or forced to resign. He has done so much for the leagues growth and safety that mishandling one situation should not lead to his resignation.
[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]No
Alex Kraft

It seems that the NFL officially has an image problem this season.

Last Thursday, Vikings wide receiver Jerome Simpson became the latest in a seemingly endless stream of high-profile players to be disciplined for criminal activity in a season that is only two weeks old. The problems, which began back in August with the yearlong suspension of Browns receiver Josh Gordon for repeat marijuana offenses and came to a head with the scandal surrounding Ravens running back Ray Rice, have provided a true test for the NFL and a commissioner who has for a long time taken pride in cleaning up the league’s image.

Unfortunately, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has not lived up to his billing. The initial crackdown on drugs was a welcome sight, but it was in the area of domestic violence that the commissioner made a critical misstep.

The highest profile case being that of Rice, it makes sense to use that as the prime example. In Rice’s case, a video was released by TMZ showing him knocking his then fiancée and current wife unconscious in an elevator before dragging her outside. The commissioner reacted by suspending Rice for two games, a punishment many viewed as highly lenient, given the brutal nature of the video.

The public outcry was so great that the NFL and Goodell were forced to rethink Rice’s punishment, especially after an additional video came out showing Rice shoving her and punching her in the face. Eventually, they decided to suspend Rice indefinitely.

This is where I think the league is falling short. Of all the issues this season has exposed in the NFL, I believe a lack of a clear hierarchy of offenses when it comes to the seriousness of an offense is the most glaring. For example, a substance-abuse offense typically warranted a four game suspension. Abuse of a woman being warranted only two games.

The NFL has taken steps to rectify the situation, implementing a more lenient drug policy (spelling early returns for suspended players such as Gordon and Broncos receiver Wes Welker) and creating a harsh domestic violence policy (six games for first offender, lifetime ban for repeat offenders). However, it comes off too much as a knee-jerk reaction to public outcry; a PR stunt designed to pacify an outraged fan base.

Unless the NFL acts with a firmer hand, the problems will continue. Cracking down harder on these crimes will be the only way to discourage them from happening. Waffling on punishments based on public opinion has and will only make matters worse.

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