By now, most people have heard of Ray Rice, the football player who was recently released by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL for beating his fiancé. Ray is one of three NFL players in the past year that have been charged with domestic violence. According to USA Today, since 2000, there have been over 80 NFL players charged with domestic violence and 4 have been charged with sexual assault. The most shocking thing about this is that the NFL didn’t change the way they handle these charges until August 28, 2014.
NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell said, "Effective immediately, violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence or sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to a suspension without pay of six games for a first offense. A second offense will result in banishment from the NFL." This is a step in the right direction, there is no question about that, but what took so long?
Vice President Joe Biden wrote the Violence Against Women Act 20 years ago on September 13, 1994. As we approach the anniversary of that act, you have to wonder why the NFL, whose fan base is 45% female, didn’t do anything sooner. But the bigger question is, why do these NFL players commit these crimes? Over 700 NFL players have been arrested since 2000. That is a shocking, eye-opening statistic. And with football being the most popular sport in America, the fact that most of these players who’ve been arrested get to keep their job, it’s sending the wrong message to the younger fan base. The justice system can only do so much; the NFL needs to start treating players like Ray Rice as criminals and stop slapping them on the wrist.