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Rachel Pott
Rachel Pott
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I am a marketing major about to start my second year at Northern Michigan University, however, this will be my third year in college. I previously attended a small community college...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

NFL fumbles the ball in dealing with athletes’ conduct

Over the last few months, there have been a rapid number of cases of professional athletes charged for domestic abuse that have surfaced to the top headlines of the media. News agencies from ESPN to Fox News and CNN have discussed names such as Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice so often, it’s been enough to make anyone want to shut off the TV to get away from these stories.

But domestic violence in sports is not a topic we should try to tune out or ignore. Whether you are a sports fan or not, we can all look at the current state of our professional sports and realize that drastic changes are needed  in how we handle the actions of our stars.

This injustice has become a growing trend across the country after NFL running backs Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson were punished by their professional franchises after charges were brought against them for violent behavior. Rice, once running back of the Baltimore Ravens, was arrested on assault charges in February after a video was released of him dragging his unconscious fiancée out of an elevator. The NFL only gave Rice a two-game suspension shortly after, and did not take further action until a video was released earlier this month of Rice committing the heinous crime, when the Ravens proceeded to release his contract and the league suspended him indefinitely.

There have been other athletes who have made headlines recently, like Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers, who was convicted of assaulting a female in June, but did not receive punishment from the league until this month. He agreed with the Panthers to be placed on the team’s exempt list but still receives pay.

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These despicable actions by players are nothing new to professional sports, but the sudden decision by the NFL to hand down such steep penalties is. According to USA Today, from December of 2012 up until the Ray Rice incident, there were been 10 NFL players arrested for domestic violence, and none of them received more than a one-game suspension.

While NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced last week that the league will make ratifications to the league’s personal conduct policy, it shouldn’t have taken this long to bring to light to the fact that no one should get off easy for inflicting abuse.

  Senior criminal justice major James Britton said the NFL should not have policies regarding players’ actions off the field.

“Professional leagues should not be stepping into the team’s facilities and suspending players for off-the-field actions,” Britton said. “That’s what the legal system is for. Obviously I do not support domestic violence, but most employers would not be stepping in and firing someone for these kind of charges. If anything, the decision to discipline a player for what they do outside of work should come from team officials… but the leagues themselves should not carry policies for these situations.”

It’s just a game, and we’re all humans. If athletes are going to assault another human being, they shouldn’t just get a slap on the wrist or a suspension, they should all lose their jobs.

The NFL is slowly but surely realizing this, now it’s time for every other professional leagues to join and help put a stop to domestic violence in sports.

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