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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

EDITORIAL – Athletes don’t deserve special treatment

Illustration by Suzann Clay/The Collegian
Illustration by Suzann Clay/The Collegian

Professional athletes have a history of trouble with the law but rarely receive adequate punishment for their actions.

National Football League player Ray Rice was terminated from the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the league after TMZ released surveillance footage of him knocking out his now-wife, Janay Rice, in a casino elevator.

That sounds like an acceptable punishment within the NFL, except for the fact that they’ve had access to the aftermath of the knockout, footage of him dragging her limp, unconscious body out of an elevator, since February.

Why was he given a mere two-game suspension then? Why is he only now being fired and suspended indefinitely? Why didn’t the NFL think the first video was graphic enough for harsh punishment?

Illustration by Suzann Clay/The Collegian
Illustration by Suzann Clay/The Collegian

Several media outlets accuse the Ravens and the league of knowing what happened within the casino elevator long before the footage was released.

Making another valid point, the Bleacher Report published an article titled “Ray Rice made himself unwatchable, the one sin the NFL can’t forgive,” highlighting the fact that the league can look the other way when players misbehave until it affects viewers, ratings and, ultimately, profits.

The only possible reason a severe punishment was delayed was because money is, as with a lot of businesses, the most important thing, and it was only given because the team and the league wanted to salvage their image, not because it was the right thing to do.

This isn’t the first domestic abuse incident the NFL has overlooked.

Current San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald was arrested on a domestic violence charge after being “involved with an altercation” with his pregnant fiancée in late August.
Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy was convicted of assaulting his former girlfriend in July.

In November 2013, Minnesota Vikings cornerback A.J. Jefferson was arrested on felony domestic abuse charges, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count and spent three days in jail.

Taking this a little further, Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent was recently reinstated into the NFL after killing his teammate in a drunken driving episode in January 2013.

The NFL’s lenient punishments are a disgrace to abuse victims everywhere, and their inadequate disciplinary action could even potentially morph fans’ minds into thinking abuse isn’t a serious issue. These professional football players scamper away with cowardice and little more than a slap on the wrist.

What would a college athlete looking to take advantage of a female on campus possibly think after seeing his idol dodge the law with a similar crime?

Recently, the NFL changed its domestic abuse policy to include more severe punishments for violators. First-time offenders of domestic abuse will be given a possible six-game suspension without pay and the minimum punishment for second-time offenders is now an appealable lifetime ban.

This change in policy is an improvement (albeit littered with loopholes) but was no doubt in relation to the backlash the league faced after initially only giving Rice a two-game suspension. Would they have done this if the public didn’t raise hell?

The new domestic abuse rules were released in late August, so it’s too soon to know if the NFL will sacrifice their precious money and players to enforce it.
It’s obvious money wins this game, not morals.

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