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The Ultimate Fumble of Roger Goodell and the NFL

The NFL has had its fair share of problems. They have had ongoing battles with former players claiming their Players Association did not do enough to protect them from the horrific dangers of concussions during their playing careers. This story is big for those who are NFL or overall sports fans. A majority of people who are not either may not know of this ongoing issue for the NFL.

It was not until recent events that the NFL has come under scrutiny by the public for the way it handled a situation involving a player with domestic violence. The player involved is disgraced star and former Baltimore Raven running back Ray Rice.

The avalanche fell on the NFL on Feb. 15. when Rice and his wife, Janay Palmer, were arrested for allegedly getting into an altercation in a casino elevator in Atlantic City, N.J. At the time, the NFL probably thought this kind of thing happens in the league all the time, so it wasn’t an issue.

According to USA Today, 86 players have been arrested since 2000 on domestic violence charges.

On Feb. 19, a video released by TMZ showed Rice dragging the unconscious Janay from the elevator. The NFL decided not to take action. On March 26, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell addressed Rice and made it clear that league was aware of the situation and was unsure yet if there would be any discipline. The NFL decided to sit tight until the facts are released.

A day later, Rice is indicted on aggressive assault charges. The very next day, Ray and Janay get married. In a span of three days things went in all kind of different directions.

On June 16, Roger and Ray held a hearing together to clear up what really happened all those months ago. Ray Rice was totally honest with the Commissioner and they both assured each other that everything would be okay and hugged it out. If this were a movie it would have happened this way.

Regardless of whether Rice did tell the truth (or if they really did hug) the NFL is surely going to penalize Rice in some capacity for being involved in this. He will be suspended a season? How about half a season? Maybe that’s too many games.

Will the league suspended him a few games? Would the league at least give him a fine? The NFL must have been waiting for more facts to be released. The NFL again decided not to take action.

On July 24, The NFL finally decided to take action! They gave Rice a full two game suspension! Yes, that is correct, Ray Rice would miss two of the 16 regular season games. Five days later on July 29, journalist Peter King reported that the league saw the full video of the incident.

Almost a full month later on Aug. 28 the Commissioner speaks! He admits that the League mishandled the suspension of Ray Rice. I wonder what the league was doing all those days before speaking. They were probably still wondering how the lights went out two super bowls ago when Ray Rice and the Ravens were playing. Was this foreshadowing?

The day everything came crashing down was on Sept. 8. when TMZ released a video of Rice striking his wife inside the elevator. That same day the Baltimore Ravens terminated his contract and the NFL wasted no time suspending him indefinitely.

There have been many other cases of cases including some involving children. Disgraced star running back Adrian Peterson is currently on the NFL’s exempt list and is being investigated for abusing his child with a switch. These two were really put under a microscope by the media because they’re cases of star NFL players. Throughout the years there have been countless others who were arrested for domestic violence charges.

The problem with all of this is the way in which the NFL has handled it all. There have been reports that they knew of the video and yet refused to suspend Ray Rice. After the video was released to the public, Goodell decided to hand him a two game suspension.

Handling situations like this has been a big problem for Goodell; however, making money sure hasn’t been. According to CNN, Goodell earned $44.2 million for the 2012 season alone and $105 million from the seasons spanning 2008 to 2012. It must have been very difficult for Goodell to look into this Rice case more seriously with this enormous amount of money in his way.

The NFL has to really reconsider how they decide to take action in future events. Their image and reputation has certainly taken a huge hit. I guess the players aren’t the only ones who fumble.

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