The Epitaph Issue 1
Published: October 2, 2014
Weighing in on the NFL controversy
By Shauli Bar-On
With the new NFL season recently kicking off, game results are dimming from the headlines as arrests and crimes take the spotlight. In 2014 alone, thus far, 38 players have been arrested, according to USA Today’s NFL statistics. Professional players have been accused of committing a variety of illegal actions, a majority of which are non-violent.
“I think it’s dangerous to make any public figure (a role model) because they’re going to disappoint you a lot of times,” said Scott Wilson, a devoted football fan and history teacher.
If criminal charges are dropped or ignored, these players are able to continue playing and receiving their paychecks.
Much controversy has arisen regarding NFL policies. Rice, accused of hitting and knocking out his then-fiancé and current wife, Janay Palmer, was given a two-game suspension without pay.
It was not until after a video of the incident was leaked by TMZ that Rice was released by the Ravens and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell decided to suspend him indefinitely. Goodell was criticized by many for giving too light of a punishment for domestic violence.
“No, I think it was a really weak punishment even if he hadn’t seen the video,” Wilson said. “It should have been more than two games. I don’t think you had to see the tape to seek stronger action.”
Palmer released a statement on Instagram shortly after her incident with Rice. Her statement expressed dissatisfaction and anger towards the media for reporting on the incident and exaggerating it. She requested the press to stop releasing information about her personal life.
“Legal things are all going to be out in the open… that’s public knowledge,” Wilson said. “That’s fair game because you did that to yourself.”
Other understand Palmer’s anger statement.
“I would agree with her (Janay Palmer), because the NFL is not the police or court, it’s not their business.” Said Lior Peled, senior, two-year varsity football player.
McDonald, defensive end for the 49ers, was accused of domestic violence after his pregnant fiance showed police the bruises she claimed were inflicted by McDonald. McDonald however, was not suspended and appeared in Levi Stadium’s regular season opener against the Chicago Bears on September 14, and is yet to have action taken against him. The 49ers believe they McDonald should be allowed to continue playing until he is proven guilty. Many 49ers fan support this view.
“I believe that the players should still be able to play (if they want to) until they are proven guilty. It’s not fair to punish innocent people.” Said Alec Pastizzo, a sophomore, JV football player.
Other fans disagree with the 49ers’ decision to allow McDonald to continue appearing on the big screen.
“It sends a very poor message if you’re saying it’s ok you can get away with domestic violence and you’re still going to be allowed to play,” Wilson said.
NFL policies apply not only to players and coaching staff, but to all NFL employees. Some punishments, fans are saying, have been unfairly lenient for players. 49ers radio voice Ted Robinson was suspended for two games by the 49ers for negative comments he made about Ray Rice and Janay Palmer.
“It seems kind of strange that you would suspend one person who said something versus someone who actually allegedly did something,” Wilson said.