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When Will the NFL Wake Up?

The NFL has a domestic and sexual violence problem. According to statistics from San Diego Union Tribune, out of 32 NFL teams, 21 employed a player with a domestic or sexual violence charge on their record in 2013. But more than the numbers, the NFL has a serious problem with how it responds to such crimes. The case of Ray Rice is just the most recent example.

Let’s review the facts: in February of this year, Baltimore Raven running back Ray Rice allegedly punched his fiancée (now wife) in the head during an argument at a hotel in Atlantic City. Surveillance video then showed Rice dragging her apparently unconscious body from an elevator. Although Rice was indicted for aggravated assault, the charges were later dropped when he agreed to undergo counseling.

Fast forward to July, when the NFL handed down its punishment: a two game suspension, and a fine of $58,000. The Baltimore Ravens responded to this suspension by essentially praising Ray Rice.

This may seem like an adequate punishment — that is, until you consider the punishments handed down by the NFL for other infractions. Cleveland Brown Josh Gordon got a one year suspension for smoking marijuana. Oakland Raider Terrelle Pryor was suspended for five games for receiving free tattoos while in college. Colts player Robert Mathis was suspended for four games for taking unapproved fertility drugs. When Rice’s suspension is compared to those handed out for these infractions — all of which are clearly less severe in nature than punching a woman so hard that she was rendered unconscious — it is clear that his “punishment” is essentially a joke. It is also clear that the NFL simply does not care about domestic violence.

In 2012, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell promised to address the league’s domestic violence problem. It’s 2014, and things are just as bad — if not worse. When will the NFL take an actual stand against domestic violence?

If you are outraged by the NFL’s stance on domestic violence, tell them! Sign a petition and tell Commissioner Goodell that domestic violence is a serious crime, and abusers have no place in the league.

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