Recent crime cases give league a black eye

Joe Elerson

Joe Elerson

When it comes to the world of sports and football, I will claim that I am a fan.

Yes, I do have my favorite teams and my favorite players in the National Football League. But the recent actions and events that have surfaced are questioning my enjoyment of this league.

Domestic abuse cases with running backs Ray Rice and Palestine native Adrian Peterson and Carolina defensive lineman Greg Hardy have given the league a black eye this week.

This is another case of where we give superstars, as we fans call them, our love and attention for what they do on the football field, and they are dealing with demons in their personal life.

I am not taking the stance that what they have done is right, and they should be judged for their actions.

I am shocked some people have been speaking out for the players, and saying they feel like they should be back on the team.

Do the players support what these three guys have done to people that they are supposed to care about?

I think the way that the Minnesota Vikings handled the case with Peterson was disappointing. They jumped so quick to say they needed him for the game, and allowed him the right to come back to the team, and say we are going to have him in the starting line this weekend.

Once the public responded with their dislike for the decision, the team decided to make a 180-degree turn, and barred him from the team at around 1 a.m. in Minnesota.

Peterson apparently disciplined his 4-year old son with a tree branch. He could now face two years in prison and a $10,000 fine, if found guilty of domestic abuse.

I do not believe in the fact that he should be paid an $11.75 million base salary while on the exempt list, which keeps him on the team, but away from team activities.

In the case of Ray Rice, the NFL and Commissioner Roger Goodell made a huge mistake in how they handled the video tapes that surfaced. I was shocked when they said that Rice only received a 2-game suspension when he knocked out his then fiancee, and blamed it on hard liquor.

The commissioner then states that when the video was made public by TMZ, no one at the NFL ever saw the footage, as far as he knew.

How could he not have seen any footage before jumping into a decision with no basis for an intelligent decision?

Another case that has surprised me is hearing the situation with Hardy. He was found guilty of assaulting his girlfriend, then appealed the decision, and took a voluntary leave of absence.

Hardy’s coach, Ron Rivera, said after letting him play in the opener, the team then deactivated him and benched him, but then allowed him to continue to practice with the team.

Rivera then said in a press conference, “It’s been handled as well as we could.”

It amazes me that athletes can do something as crazy as hitting a woman or a kid, and the teams decide to give them a slap on the wrist.

I hope when it comes to the NFL finding another way to deal with top players who get in trouble, they will take a different stance.

The way that they have handled these three issues will open the eyes of members of the league to take a closer look into how they deal with the domestic abuse issue.

I will still watch games when I get a chance, but it still bothers me to see how the league has handled these three players’ cases.

Maybe now the NFL will change its stance, and enforce their rulings in accordance with the crimes that are committed.

Joe Elerson is a sports writer for the Athens Daily Review.

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