Football players’ behavior unacceptable

Recent abuse allegations raise question of whether players should still be in the NFL.

Connor Nikolic

This past spring, TMZ released a video of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice dragging his fiancee out of an elevator after he had knocked her unconscious with a punch. National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Rice for the first two games of the 2014 season.

I expected this to be the end of that story. Then, in August, another video was released that showed what took place inside that elevator. Viewers see the makings of a scuffle, a slap from Rice’s fiancee — now his wife — and the one-hit knockout Rice lands across her chin. The woman falls to the ground and is apparently unconscious.

According to the source that released the tape from inside the elevator, the NFL has had the full film in its possession since April. This likely means Goodell saw this tape, reviewed it along with the earlier video and deemed it worthy of only a two-game suspension.

As if the NFL wasn’t in deep enough water, news broke late last week that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had been charged in Texas for beating his son with a tree branch. Peterson was jailed in Montgomery County and released on $15,000 bail.

He was removed from the lineup for Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, but Vikings owner Zygi Wilf has since indicated that Peterson is scheduled to practice this week and play against New Orleans on Sunday.

Peterson felt that, because he was raised in a home where whippings were a regular occurrence, he was not at criminal fault for his actions. However, his behavior is unacceptable in today’s day and age.

To put his abuse in perspective, imagine the scars that result from an average person delivering a whipping. Then just think of how much harder a man like Peterson is capable of swinging a tree branch. Peterson’s son had multiple deep gashes up most of his leg.

On Tuesday, a second case was brought to light in which Peterson allegedly beat another one of his children this past June, but Peterson’s lawyer has reportedly denied such claims.

Next weekend, a large number of Minnesotans will sit in front of their televisions to watch Peterson and the Vikings take on the Saints at noon. The telecast will undoubtedly include a statement from Peterson, ecstatic to be back on the field with his teammates. They will probably express similar sentiments.

As the facts of the case continue to flow, I’m not sure why the Vikings leadership thought it would be appropriate to reinstate Peterson. Maybe the team’s unimpressive offense in Sunday’s game against the Patriots played a factor in the final decision to recall him. Regardless, Peterson has already been freed, and he’ll play football again, just a few days into this case.

This contradicts Goodell’s stance on increasing the NFL’s punishments against domestic violence. Furthermore, it dampens the NFL’s relations with rights organizations and fans raising young children.