Mike Rowse A voice from New Mexico


The NFL pundits just can’t get it right

whether it is truly deserved or not the NFL has an image problem when it comes to the way they discipline their players for violation of legal rules. Remember a few years ago when Ray Rice was caught on a hotel security camera knocking out his girlfriend and dragging her by the hair into an elevator? The NFL issued I think a three-game suspension and they were excoriated for not being tough enough on Ray Rice. There were a couple of other subsequent instances regarding domestic abuse that the league was criticized for not being tough enough. Now Ezekial Elliot, the running back for the Dallas Cowboys has been suspended for six games after allegedly being involved in a domestic violence situation prior to becoming an NFL player. And while there is a line of support for the six-game suspension there is also a lot of criticism of the NFL and their handling of the situation.

the supporters of Elliott are saying that he was not charged criminally for any of the incidents that his former girlfriend alleged occurred because the district attorney said that was not enough evidence and it may have been that she fabricated some of the alleged violent meetings. Many are saying that because Elliott was not charged criminally he should not be punished by the NFL. Others are criticizing the NFL for taking a year to investigate the situation before handing out punishment.

Let's make sure we understand a couple of things, the NFL was criticized for rushing to judgment in the Ray Rice situation and other disciplinary hearings. So for them to take a year, which might be on its surface an excessive amount of time, they were trying to be thorough and had to do a deeper investigation because the police and district attorney dropped their investigations apparently and wouldn't share information with the NFL either. And how quickly do people really get to trial in a criminal case? Not very quickly at all; it's not unusual to have a case schedule more than a year after an arrest.

let's also not forget that often in domestic violence situations the victim refuses to cooperate in the criminal investigation which makes the prosecutor's job almost impossible. If there is not independent verifiable and documentable evidence such as videotape then there's almost no way you can prosecute someone successfully when it's a he/she said situation. The credibility of the alleged victim in this case was easily called into question and so the prosecutor decides that it's not likely he will get a verdict in his favor so decides not to pursue the case.

The standard of proof in order to be successful in a civil case or matter, which is what the NFL is dealing with is much lower than that of a criminal case. Look at what happened to O.J. Simpson, he was cleared of charges in the criminal case but found guilty unanimously in the civil case brought by his ex-wife's family. And let's not forget that the NFL is a private business and has the right to hold their employees to a specific standard of behavior in the right to meet out punishment as they see fit. The players union gave the NFL front office staff the ability to be the sole determining of punishment if a player violates league rules.

The NFL has to make money and if they become seen as a Lee that is full of bugs, wife beaters, drug addicts, murderers etc. then they are going to lose viewers and sponsors just like the NBA did 20 years ago. Whether you agree with the punishment meted out Elliott, it doesn't really matter because the NFL has the right to do that.

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