According to ESPN and friends, Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension for 6 games is the biggest story of the entire sports world. And because of this, everyone gets to take turns and weigh in on their thoughts about this move.
Is it too harsh?
Is it not enough?
Is the NFL really taking a stand against domestic violence?
Is this guilty until proven innocent?
All of these topics and more are being beaten to death by all sorts of sports personalities that are not qualified to talk about law and order matters.
With that in mind, here is my unqualified take:
Since when as a nation have we required our sports franchises to legislate punishment for crimes against society? We have an entire wing of our government dedicated to that: it’s called the police and court system.
Little known fact: the field of law is complicated. In fact most people who practice ‘law’ have to go to school for many years and take a test at the end to qualify. Our system of laws and punishment have been developed over the course of many years by many of these same people who went to ‘law’ school. Why in the world would we expect another association, a football association, to be able to hand out judgement and penalty with the same even-handedness and consistency as the section of government that has been doing this for centuries?
I think the NFL should leave itself out of all of this morality policing and let the wheels of justice turn. I know the NFL is a business and this is much more about PR than about trying to make the world a better place. I also know Goodell was hired by the owners to be the patsy and take all the arrows slung by the hoi polloi about this new found punitive legislation. I just don’t look to my NFL players for morality. I look for them to win games. Of course we want them to be law-abiding, and if they have a personality, well all the better. But I don’t expect Goodell and crew to hand out additional punishments for things that the State don’t even feel are worthy of jail time.
What really chaps my hide is all the women’s groups rising up all of the sudden and demanding the NFL to take severe action against these players. First of all, why not the NBA, NHL, MLB, etc? Not once has any of those social justice groups ever confronted those other leagues with the same vitriol as they do the NFL. Why? Because of publicity. Not because they care about the women involved. Secondly, why should the NFL be responsible for punishment of this ilk? As stated earlier, there is an entire department dedicated to this. If there is a feeling of unjust towards domestic violence perpetrators, why not confront the laws of the land? More jail time? More community service? I don’t know. But to ask for the NFL to assign an arbitrary amount of games for suspension, then rail against the league when it is not enough (or too much from the other side) is simply unfair.
So to answer your question, no I don’t want NFL players to hit women. And yes it does matter. But ask yourself this: should Johnny Depp be suspended from making movies? Should Tom Cruise take a 3 year hiatus? Or better yet, should all jobs be active participants in handing out punishment? Or just the high profile ones?
Anyway, the NFL doesn’t know what is it doing in all of this. Neither do I. And neither do you. So just stay out of the way and let the professionals handle it.