Enough is enough. The NFL needs to step up and change how they handle Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Allegations.
By PJ Chandra
Pissed. Frustrated. Angry. Ticked off. Despite being one of the biggest fans of professional football (Go Pats!), this past week has made me feel all of these emotions towards the NFL. It’s time to admit that the NFL has a problem with how they handle off-field incidents, such as domestic abuse and sexual assault, as with Tyreek Hill, Ray Rice, and Adrian Peterson as of last week, add Antonio Brown to that list. Just ugh.
Former Pittsburgh Steeler and Oakland Raider, Antonio Brown, was recently signed by the New England Patriots. Many heralded him as the greatest receiver since Jerry Rice, even going so far as to label him the only player in NFL history to have 100 catches in six straight seasons. However, last week his former trainer, Brittany Taylor, accused Brown of rape. The details are very graphic but if you would like to read the full lawsuit as I have, here it is. Then, a second accusation came out on Wednesday, September 18th, and so much drama ensued that the Patriots released him two days later, on the 20th. There is currently an on-going NFL investigation..
And now for the rant against all this…
Look. The NFL has a clear, undeniable problem. Sophomore Samantha MacDonald, believes, “I think the actions of the Patriots should set a precedent for the NFL to try and disassociate with the accused players so that the nfl can do their full blown investigation.” What the NFL does with these types of investigations are so erratic and so out of order, it causes huge fans of the game (like Sam and me) to lose trust in the game and more importantly lose trust in the system. The league will typically put a player on the commissioner’s exempt list for unusual circumstances until an investigation is complete and there is a conclusion and a consensus on what to do whether it be suspension, further investigation, or the player is cleared. Here’s the deal. Antonio Brown could be innocent (probably not based off the text messages, but he still has the right of innocence until proven guilty), but the NFL needs to have a better system in place for how they approach investigating sexual assault and domestic violence accusations. Despite there being over 1,700 players in the NFL, there have been only 80 arrests. which might not sound like a lot, but given the fact we look up to NFL players as role models for ourselves, our friends, our kids, that is a disaster for Roger Goodell, Julie Haddon, and the rest of the league. Haddon, the VP of marketing struggles with proper decision making in these situations as, MacDonald explains, “the NFL tries to put things off so they don’t have to deal with it, or so they don’t have to make some kind of “big decision” when in actuality it is making them look worse to the public.”
There is definitely a mob out there on social media as, “now everyone knows what is happening online,” allies often come out to condemn any player or person (mostly politicians) after any accusation. On the other hand, it is important for people not to assume a conclusion or guilt, as with Antonio Brown. MacDonald points out that AB lost his endorsement with Nike, as well as being released by the Patriots. While his former teams, the Steelers and Raiders, likely did not know about the accusations, MacDonald believes “that would be really bad and say a lot about how much teams try to hide this from the public which is disheartening as it shows these teams are in it for the money and their views not to portray good people who can be role models to kids.”
Moving forward, the NFL needs to look at ways to improve their system in terms of investigating off-field issues, such as sexual assault and domestic abuse, in an effort to save the integrity of the league and restore public trust again.