Monday, September 22, 2014

Sport for Thought: Lets Get Back to Some Football

In my last article, I wrote just how much sport and the Yankees meant to America and exemplified hope during a time of desperation and horrific events. But for the first three weeks of the 2014 NFL season, these same athletes who millions of people idolize and watch for entertainment are causing a nationwide debate about domestic violence. By no means am I blowing over the issue at hand, but people watch sports to take their minds off of many of the more serious topics affecting our country and it is a shame that sports are struggling to provide that outlet.

 It is pathetic to see what Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Jonathan Dwyer, and Ray McDonald have done to their own family members, but the leagues action is just as pathetic. Roger Goodell knew all of the information of what had transpired in an Atlantic City elevator with Ray Rice and his then fiancĂ©e (now wife), yet for the protection of the leagues image, he swept it under the table with a flimsy 2 game suspension (now suspended indefinitely after public backlash).

The problem with all of these cases is not just the NFL, the teams, or coaches; there is an issue with the legal system and how these cases are being handled. Of course the NFL has to take action and enforce much stricter punishments for such horrible acts of domestic violence, but so does the legal system. All eyes are on the NFL and how they are handling these cases, yet there is a much bigger picture that needs to be addressed. Athletes need to stop being able to live above the law because they are not much different then any of us. If an accountant or teacher were to have committed the same crime as Rice, with the video evidence available to the prosecutors, they would be in jail. But instead of facing the same punishment as any other ‘regular’ American, he was able to attend counseling.

It is a shame that the NFL was more worried about its image rather than making the right decision not just for the benefit of the league, but to show the world how such a major organization like the NFL will not tolerate any such type of negligent behavior. No matter how famous or successful you are, you should not be given a free pass because of a talent or ability. Rice and Peterson have an incredible talent but that is no excuse when it comes to committing a crime.

The past three weeks have been full of domestic violence coverage and about the NFL’s handling of the cases. I understand it is an important topic that should have been handled differently but unfortunately the NFL cannot go back and change their mistakes. It is now time for Roger Goodell to implement a more appropriate policy concerning domestic violence so us, the fans, can put our attention back on what is occurring on the field instead of off it.

Alexa Fontanella is a freshman Sport Management Major at Drexel University, from Totowa, NJ. This winter she will be working with Drexel Athletics on marketing strategies and game day operations for the Drexel Dragons basketball team. Alexa is looking forward to participating in her first co-op next fall and is excited for such an amazing opportunity. She is a huge New York Sports fan, specifically the Yankees and the Nets. 

Follow Alexa on Twitter @Lexa_Font4 and connect with her on LinkedIn. 

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