What does ZERO TOLERANCE stand for?

When Super Bowl champion running back Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL and had his contract terminated by the Baltimore Ravens for ‘domestic violence,” it created a domino effect of domestic violence cases amongst NFL players to begin with. With TMZ sports releasing the elevator footage of Rice punching his wife and knocking her out cold, really made the public eye ponder on how the NFL really handled this case to begin with. News stations, advertisers, PR firms had a field day mocking the NFL on how they handled this situation from the start.



The NFL originally suspended Rice for just the “first two games of the season,” but after the footage by TMZ sports was released they decided to go back on their decision and suspend him for the entire season, and his team left him without a job. Ethically speaking Rice having agreed with the court on March 27, 2014 to seek counseling for his actions and also agree to community service in the Baltimore area, really should make him be able to play football and be contracted with an NFL team. By in no means is what he did right, it is completely wrong. But the elevator footage of Rice knocking out his wife should have been easily available to the NFL to begin with and this whole dilemma of him playing or not playing would’ve been sorted out months before the season started. The fact that he was cut from his team and suspended by the NFL a week after the season started makes it rather odd and fishy on how the NFL  handled this situation

The NFLPA has asked to review the Ray Rice case, and the Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has vehemently denied that his team had no idea about the elevator footage and they only saw it when it was released. Furthermore he also went on to say that the NFLPA’s review has nothing to do with the NFLPA, and has to do with Ray Rice and his legal team trying to get him re-instated.  http://espn.go.com/chicago/nfl/story/_/id/11570685/baltimore-ravens-owner-steve-bisciotti-says-espn-ray-rice-report-manufactured-rice-cam

A day after Rice was suspended the NFL did release a “Domestic Violence Policy,” that was only sent to each NFL team’s owner and GM. The NFL never released a draft of the policy on their website (NFL.com), but SBNation (a sports blog) managed to get a hold of the draft and make sure that fans of the NFL know the so-called measures the NFL are going to take to stop “Domestic Violence,” cases. Below is a link of the entire letter that sent out to the NFL teams’ owner.


The policy clearly states “Violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence and sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to enhanced discipline. A first offense will be subject to a suspension of six weeks without pay…” Therefore the next few cases will make you wonder if the NFL is just trying to defend them themselves by giving the fans their word, or just trying to tie up loose ends.

Ray McDonald, 30 is a defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers. He was arrested on suspicion of domestic abuse after his wife showed police bruises. He was held overnight by police and released the next day. According to the NFL “there was not enough evidence and he was never charged,” so he could have not be reprimanded for his actions. However CBS news felt otherwise and posted an article that makes us believe that NFL just went back on their word of zero tolerance


Hannah Storm, an ESPN sportscaster and anchor who has been covering sports for more than 30 years now, kicked off the 10AM Sportscenter broadcast by talking about how she as a mother had to explain to her children about the recent cases of domestic violence that have been taking place in the NFL. ESPN did face a lot of backlash for this, as they were attacked for being “weak” for allowing a woman to express emotion on flagship show for a top sports network in the country. Furthermore, Storm went on the mention in her piece about how women are affected by these cases and how women do make up 45% of the NFL’s fan base in America. Surprisingly 63% of the NFL’s audience around the world are women

Greg Hardy, a defensive end for the Carolina Panthers was arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend and also sending communicating and sending her threats. He was allowed to start and play vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and once the NFL’s domestic abuse policy fell through, he was de-activated from the team in Week 2. He is now on the Panthers’ exempt list and is still allowed to receive his $13.1 million salary. The team’s owner Jerry Richardson was being honored a day after Greg Hardy’s charges became known to the public and his reaction made you think that people who do own these team’s owner do actually care about the welfare of their team.

Adrian Peterson was charged by his son’s mother for domestic violence after hitting his son with a switch. He was allowed to start Week 1 as well, and now is on his team’s exempt list just like Greg Hardy. As shown below is the effect of Peterson’s discipline towards his three year old son.

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In conclusion I feel that the NFL, needs to be more clear with the way they handle these situations. They release policies, they issue statements, and their PR team does their best to ensure the fans that the league is taking action. These cases are all not so very different from Ray Rice striking his wife in an elevator, they are all linked to each other and are all very shocking. By ethical standpoints the NFL needs to be more clear to it’s fans and needs to adhere to their policies and principles more strictly, rather than be so lackadaisical and nonchalant about such serious issues with its players.

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