Goodell atones for Rice Suspension

By Matthew Johnson, Sports Editor

Published in print Sept. 10, 2014

Hearing criticism from voices that extended beyond the playing field in the form of fans and domestic violence groups, NFL Commissioner  Roger Goodell somewhat redeemed himself in his decision last week to reshape the NFL’s domestic violence policy towards its players.

Stemming from Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice’s measly two game suspension after he was found guilty of aggravated assault against his then fiancé now wife this summer, Goodell rightfully toughened the league’s guidelines when one of its employees is found guilty of committing the despicable act of domestic violence.

Formerly a punishment where the commissioner’s office handed down discipline on a case by case situation, under the upgraded personal conduct policy, domestic violence will now be a six game suspension followed by a banishment for life from the NFL for a repeat offender.

Understanding the error in judgment for his decision for Rice’s ruling, Goodell, in a written letter to every league owner throughout the NFL informed his owners of the reshaped approach to domestic violence, as he acknowledged his mistake in the August ruling.

“We allowed our standards to fall below where they should be and lost an important opportunity to emphasize our strong stance on a critical issue and the effective programs we have in place” Goodell wrote. “…I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.”

Though he at first was incredibly incorrect in his resolution in the case of Ray Rice and rightfully faced a national backlash, Commissioner Goodell deserves temporary reprieve and praise for correcting such an unsound wrong.

Due to the tremendous popularity of football in this country which seems to only rival Beatlemania in the 1960s as one of the most intense fan frenzies ever to hit America, the NFL players, due to their stature as national idols for countless children and youths have a responsibility to the young minds of the is nation, fairly or unfairly to behave in a respectful manner since their every move will be imitated by every Pop Warner, high school and college football player on and off the field.

While other controversial situations are resoundingly knocking on the league office doors such as the Washington name change and the threat of concussions damaging the league’s popularity need to be further addressed, for this moment in his administration which has been marred in inconsistency, Commissioner Goodell has found success in reestablishing the league’s attitude toward domestic violence.

Perhaps pushed and dragged to amend the league’s policy as it took nearly a month to admit his mistake, Goodell has found a victory for the league’s image after weeks where the most popular sport in the country was seen as a heartless business that does not care for his fans, especially its growing women fans.

In one of the most horrible tragedies to hit the NFL in recent memory, Commissioner Goodell, after failing miserably has earned the rightful approval of the nation once again.

However, as previously seen in the case of attempting to make the game safer while seemingly pulling teeth in helping some of the game’s former players who have been scarred for life by the sport which Goodell presides over, Commissioner Goodell must maintain the road he carefully trends. 

His first test was delivered early last week when San Francisco 49ers player Ray McDonald was arrested for domestic violence, days following Goodell’s news to reshape the current domestic policy guideline.

In a decision which seems far too indifferent, head coach Jim Harbaugh stated his defensive tackle, instead of being benched for the game, would play in the season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

Now is the time for Sheriff Goodell to assert himself to the league and hand McDonald a six game punishment that will resonate throughout the NFL landscape that domestic violence is not tolerated not only in football, but also throughout society.         

Categories: matthew johnson, Sports

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