Josh Brown is the latest indication that the NFL has shown a consistent display of hubris regarding issues of domestic abuse.
Matters of domestic violence are certainly nothing new when it comes to the NFL. As far back as 2006, there have been publicly known cases of domestic violence perpetrated by members of the NFL family.
But, that’s not my issue. Domestic violence charges in NFL circles are on par with per capita DV cases in mainstream society.
My issue is that the NFL clearly has a disregard for the victims, punishment and image attached with such cases. There is a long line of leniency and inconsistency in the aftermath of dealing with its players, coaches and executives.
The most recent case of utter bullshit involves New York Giants kicker, Josh Brown. Brown has flat out admitted to abusing his wife throughout the course of their marriage. Physical, emotional and verbal abuse were all a part of Brown’s disclosure. And if you noticed, I didn’t refer to Brown as “former” New York Giants kicker. Yeah, after beating his wife for years, Josh Brown received a 1-game ban and was not permitted to travel to London to play against the Los Angeles Rams.
Yeah…I call BULLSHIT on the NFL, its owners and ultimately, its commissioner Roger Goodell. For a league that generates over $10 billion dollars in revenue, how can it be so blatantly and willfully dismissive? It sure isn’t from lack of smarts, resources or track record.
Many have called on racial bias for the leniency on Brown. Given that, in recent cases, Ray Rice and Greg Hardy have been essentially blackballed from the league, while Josh Brown gets hit with a 1-game suspension. While this perception may be mildly valid for now, remember that the NFL initially suspended Rice for just 2 games. It wasn’t until video surfaced of Rice striking his then fiance’ in an elevator. Hardy saw his suspension reduced from 10-games to 4-games after appeal. So, it remains to be seen just what the NFL will do with Brown, now that there is self-documentation of guilt.
My biggest takeaway from this is that the NFL and Goodell generally seem to wield out just punishment when called to the carpet by its fans, sponsors and media.
Remember, the NFL didn’t indefinitely suspend Ray Rice when you KNEW he punched his fiance’ on an elevator. The NFL indefinitely suspended Ray Rice when you SAW him punch his fiance’ on an elevator. The NFL couldn’t give two Brett Favre pain killers about how its players behave. What they do care about, is the tarnish such behavior leaves on the shield.
So, yes, there may be a built-in response to be sensitive to the fact that Brown, who is white, is able to move on without escalation, while recent black players have lost their careers after domestic violence ordeals. But, that’s certainly not the entire scope of the issue.
We also, on a weekly occurrence, see players fined tens of thousands of dollars for wearing the wrong color cleats or wearing their socks too low. Yet, there is a self-admitted spousal abuser getting geared up to play for the New York Giants next Sunday. That make sense to you? Me neither.
What we’ve seen is abundant amounts of hubris, arrogance and cowardice when it comes to dealing with domestic violence. I’m sure the league feels the ability to do this is because it feels untouchable in certain aspects. I mean, why would Goodell and the owners for whom he works not feel this way? Fans, media and social groups have all been screaming for better behavior from the NFL over domestic violence, drug abuse, PEDs, concussions and more, for years now. However, those same fans continue to show up at stadiums, pay for overpriced nachos and beer and tune in on TV weekly. But, plenty of those same fans have tuned out because a player decided to exert his rights to protest. That same media forks over billions to the NFL for exclusivity rights for coverage. Think they’re gonna come down too hard, criticizing that investment? Nope!
It’s also October…Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I’m sure you’ve seen countless players sporting pink gloves, wristbands and tape lately. Happens every year. The NFL will display all kinds of love to promote awareness for breast cancer. But, that’s all it is…promotion. Approximately 1% of the monies raised from the pink paraphernalia is actually used towards cancer research. What that tells me is that the league and its representatives care about the perception of having us believe they give a damn much more than they actually do.
The NFL was not always the power player it is now. And if they continue to display the type of outright carelessness we’ve seen over-and-over again, they will see that reign come to an end in the same fashion Major League Baseball, Heavyweight Boxing and the NBA had to witness falls from once prominence.