Georgia Voices: NFL must dish out tougher punishment
by The Savannah Morning News
August 12, 2014 12:00 AM | 1074 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A player who smokes weed in the National Football League could be suspended for four games.

But if he knocks his wife or girlfriend unconscious, then drags her limp body across the floor by her hair, he sits out two games.

That’s outrageous. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for knocking out his wife (then his fiancee) for two games this upcoming season, should be ashamed.

So should the entire league.

If this is what professional football thinks about domestic violence, then serious sports fans should rethink their support of America’s favorite fall pastime. Who wants to root for brutish millionaires — Rice signed a five-year deal in 2012 for $40 million — who get slaps on the wrist for treating women like punching bags?

Incredibly, a top NFL executive, Adolpho Birch, tried to justify the commissioner’s coddling of one of the league’s players. “I think the way we did that is the way that we determined discipline in all of these types of cases, and that is, the commissioner elicits a number of perspectives,” said Birch, the NFL’s senior vice president of labor policy, on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” radio program this week.

He went on to say that Goodell “ultimately makes a decision that he thinks is appropriate based on both the conduct and the importance of making the right message for the league and others going forward.”

What’s that message? If you’ve seen the grainy footage of Rice dragging Janay Rice out of an elevator at an Atlantic City casino, it’s this: It’s the woman’s fault for not ducking.

Goodell must dish out tougher punishment. In the meantime, people who dish out big bucks for NFL tickets and memorabilia should consider donating their money to shelters that help the victims of this crime.

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