By Tyler Wornell, KCOU Sports
It’s been an abysmal week for the NFL, and it didn’t get much better yesterday when the Arizona Cardinals announced that they were placing running back Jonathan Dwyer on the non-injury list, following his arrest on domestic abuse charges.
Dwyer is just one of many players to have been deactivated by their teams this week. He joins Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Adrian Peterson, who have all been deactivated after being charged with domestic abuse.
Despite being reactive to all of the situations, the NFL now has a chance to be proactive toward future cases. Roger Goodell has already begun that process by establishing a new punishment policy for players charged with domestic abuse. As the NFL moves forward from this colossal mistake, they now have a chance to learn from their mistakes.
Goodell may have addressed the domestic abuse policy, but there are still inconsistencies in the policy. Hardy was convicted back in June, but is currently in the appeal process. The NFL and the Carolina Panthers originally said they would let Hardy have “due process,” but he has been deactivated this week.
San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald was arrested on Aug. 31 for domestic or family abuse, but has not yet been charged. The 49ers have decided not to deactivate McDonald, and are allowing him to have his “due process.”
In the coming weeks and months, the NFL must take a serious look at their domestic abuse policy, refine it, and get rid of the inconsistencies. Goodell has a responsibility to preserve the integrity of the league and achieve uniformity in the way it punishes players.
The NFL must also take steps to ensure a huge mess like this doesn’t happen again. Transparency has never been a highly held standard by the NFL, but it has no choice but to be more transparent moving forward. Goodell and the front office have come under heavy criticism after their mishandling of the Ray Rice case, and for good reason.
Besides restructuring their policies, the NFL must also take an active step in raising their voice about domestic violence. It appears as though the issue is much larger than what anyone thought, but is only just now coming to light.
Verizon, the NFL’s largest sponsor, said they would continue their endorsement of the NFL, and work to educate the public about domestic abuse. If Goodell and the NFL are wise, they will use their partnership with Verizon to move on from this debacle.
The NFL already has a Play 60 campaign, aimed at helping kids stay active for at least 60 minutes a day. If the NFL wants to make real progress in domestic violence awareness, it would benefit them to create some sort of program similar to their Play 60 campaign.
The situation might look grim for the NFL, but moving forward they have a chance to reconcile their mistakes, and finally get things right.