Behind elevator doors


Photo Courtesy of MCT Campus

Christian Heutel, sports writer

In the past month, media has been filled with discussions of domestic violence and Ray Rice, which all surround the NFL and shine a certain spotlight on Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Rice, a former Baltimore Ravens running back, was arrested and indicted for third-degree aggravated assault relating to an incident with his wife, Janay Palmer, at Revel Casino in New Jersey March 27, 2014. The video shows Rice punching his then fiancée in an elevator, leaving her unconscious. Video evidence of the assault was not shown to the public until early September, leading to controversy within the NFL.

“My actions that night were totally inexcusable,” Rice said in a Washington Post article. “That’s not me. That’s something I have to live with the rest of my life.”

I am convinced this incident between Rice and Palmer was not an isolated incident and although he may be sorry, it still happened and could always happen again. A 1994 study by AMA Diagnostic & Treatment Guidelines on Domestic Violence shows that nearly half of men who beat their wives do so at least three times a year. A survey by The Basics of Batterer Treatment shows one in five women victimized by their spouses or ex-spouses report they had been victimized repeatedly by the same person.

Initially, Rice was suspended for the first two games of the 2014 season, but later when TMZ released the video, Goodell admitted, “My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I didn’t get it right.”

The Ravens released Rice from the team and he was then suspended indefinitely from the NFL Sept. 8, 2014. Fans could not believe what Rice had done, but were also shocked with Goodell and his reactions. Soon after, the public complained about the situation and many people (especially women) wanted Goodell fired because of his poor decision making.

Goodell’s situation then worsened. League and Ravens’ officials said they requested the video from law enforcement but were denied. However, it was later revealed the tape was sent to NFL headquarters to the attention of League Security Chief Jeffrey Miller in April, a law enforcement official says. ESPN and others also have reported the Ravens had a detailed description of the video shortly after Rice was arrested.

While this controversy swirled around the video tape, and suspicions arose on who knew what when, other stories about NFL players and domestic violence were being reported.

From summer of 2014 to fall of 2014, six cases of domestic violence have taken place including Adrian Peterson, running back for the Minnesota Vikings, who was indicted on charges after admittedly whipping his 4-year-old son with a tree branch. After the Vikings announced that Peterson would return for week three, another hiccup occurred. He is now facing new allegations of an earlier instance of child abuse, according to Sports Illustrated. Apparently, Peterson hit another one of his sons last June, leaving a scar on his forehead, according to SI.

Other offenders include San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy and Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer, who were all accused of assault against women. New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa was also arrested and charged with simple assault against a woman.

With all these issues surrounding the NFL, Goodell enacted new rules Aug. 28 for future consequences concerning players and domestic violence: A first offense will be subject to suspension of six weeks without pay. A second offense will result in banishment from the league, but a player may petition for reinstatement after one year.

Currently, Rice is appealing the decision by the NFL on the grounds his punishment was based on a small portion of the video showing the altercation in the elevator rather than the complete tape recorded in Atlantic City that night. In other words, he asserts there is more to the story than what the media has shown. And I am sure this story is far from over.

The new rules enacted by the NFL should include mandatory counseling after any reported incident/crime. Offenders should talk to a professional about possible events in their past that could have caused this feeling of violence.

The NFL rules regarding domestic violence must become stricter so players will face their personal issues before taking the field.