Aug 29, 2014

NFL Issues(not much better) New Ruling on Domestic Violence Offenses

Running back and batterer Ray Rice

Update:  Ray Rice has just been let go by the Baltimore Ravens and banned from the NFL indefinitely.  On the positive side, domestic violence is getting lots of attention.  On the negative side, the NFL is getting more.


Recently,the Domestic Violence Action Center put up a post (on their blog about the hand slap which the Ravens’ Ray Rice received for battering his then-girlfriend Jayna Palmer.  He beat her up in an elevator and then was caught on camera literally kicking her out of the door while she lay face down on the ground.  He got off lightly all around, with a probation and community service from the courts, and a two game suspension from the NFL.  The Ray Rice incident was widely publicized and there was huge blowback from the public (football fans and the general public alike) regarding the light “sentence” Rice received from Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Yesterday, Goodell released a new policy on domestic violence and sexual assault.  Either offense will result in a minimum six game suspension, and a second offense will result in an indefinite suspension from the game.  In announcing the new ruling, Goodell acknowledged that he had gotten it wrong with Ray Rice.  Boy, did he ever.  He had suspended players for four games for smoking marijuana.   The entire text of Goodell’s letter to the owners can be found here:


Among other things, Goodell wrote: The public response reinforced my belief that the NFL is held to a higher standard, and properly so. Much of the criticism stemmed from a fundamental recognition that the NFL is a leader, that we do stand for important values, and that we can project those values in ways that have a positive impact beyond professional football. We embrace this role and the responsibility that comes with it. We will listen openly, engage our critics constructively, and seek continuous improvement in everything we do. We will use this opportunity to create a positive outcome by promoting policies of respect for women both within and outside of the workplace. We will work with nationally recognized experts to ensure that the NFL has a model policy on domestic violence and sexual assault. We will invest time and resources in training, programs and services that will become part of our culture. And we will increase the sanctions imposed on NFL personnel who violate our policies.

I hope he is serious about working with nationally recognized experts on developing and new policy promoting respect for women both within and outside of the workplace.  Seems a small gesture to me.  After what Ray Rice did, in my opinion, he should have gone to jail and been kicked out of  football.  And his girlfriend Janay Palmer should have her head examined for marrying him after what he did to her.  As for holding the NFL to a higher standard, this is just plain bunk.  No one, no how should get away with domestic violence and/or sexual assault without severe consequences.   Criticizing the walk-in-the-park two game suspension for Ray Rice has nothing to do with “holding the NFL to a higher standard.”

Read League of Denial. The NFL’s values as regards it’s players are definitely questionable, and despite the new policy, the NFL’s values don’t do much for their victims either.

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Gloria. Circa 1955.

Gloria. Circa 2012.

Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.

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