Domestic abuse victims should be the focus of new NFL policy2 min read

Geena Gonzales, Staff Writer

The National Football League started and ended with controversy this past season. Last February former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocked his then fiancée unconscious in an Atlantic City casino elevator. The altercation was caught on video surveillance, and was released to the media in July.

Just one month before the Ray Rice altercation occurred, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, was also involved in a domestic dispute. In light of Rice and Hardy’s altercations, a new domestic violence policy is now in place, but there are issues and concerns with the new policy.

Ray Rice first received a two game suspension from the Baltimore Ravens organization, but after public scrutiny and negative press, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was forced to step in and present a new domestic violence policy. After the change in policy, Rice was released from the Ravens and suspended indefinitely.

The new domestic violence policy has an extensive list of prohibited conduct, independent investigative procedures, a 6 game suspension for violent crimes like, domestic violence, and sexual assault, for first time domestic violence offenders. The second offense would result in banishment from the NFL. The player would be able to petition to be reinstated after one year suspension, but it is not guaranteed that they will be able to enter the league again.

Changes to the policy needed to be made after almost 20 years of domestic violence cases against players going practically unpunished by the NFL.

One thing that happened with the Ray Rice altercation was that it was caught on video, obtained by a media site and went viral. The video was very disturbing to watch, cause such a negative and controversial issue in regards to how the NFL is handling domestic violence cases.

What the new policy fails to do is consider the victims. The spouses or significant others, who are victims of physical abuse could encounter more abuse caused by the unpaid suspension and fines.

The NFL has also previously recruited and drafted athletes who have had domestic violence charges before entering the NFL. Those individuals should not be allowed to play in the NFL at all. Professional athletes are watched closely because many young athletes look up to them, therefore the league should have a stricter policy. Along with the 6 game unpaid suspension the league should also fine the athlete depending on the severity of the case which would determine the amount of money the athlete should be fined. A review of the new policies effectiveness will take place in one year.

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