Roger Goodell Has Accepted the Culture of Violence and He Needs to Go

“We are going to do some things to combat this problem because some of the numbers on DUIs and domestic violence are going up and that disturbs me,” Goodell said. “When there’s a pattern of mistakes, something has got to change.”

Roger Goodell made this statement in an interview with in August of 2012. He was right at the time and now, after two years of inaction, he is right even more right. Something does need to change: Roger Goodell’s employment status.

His reign as commissioner has a clear pattern of “mistakes” on dealing with instances of domestic violence. Goodell waited until September to indefinitely suspend Ray Rice for charges of domestic violence. (Never mind the fact that Rice was arrested all the way back on February 15th of this year, a video of the instance of violence surfaced that same month, and that he was indicted in March.) Why did it take so long for the NFL to hand down a punishment proportional to the crime of domestic violence? How is a 2-game suspension for a domestic violence indictment a “change” in how the NFL handles its players? These are two questions in a series of many that Roger Goodell either cannot or will not answer.

Roger Goodell Quote Graphic

But Goodell’s pattern of mistakes is certainly not limited to Ray Rice. Eliana Dockterman of Time found that in 2013, 21 of 32 NFL teams still employed a player with either a sexual assault or domestic violence charge. In the past 10 months alone Ray McDonald of San Francisco, Greg Hardy of Carolina, and A.J. Jefferson of Minnesota were all involved in domestic violence or sexual assault cases. Of the three only A.J. Jefferson received a punishment from the NFL (a four-game suspension), Roger Goodell lifted Jefferson’s suspension with no explanation. In fact Greg Hardy, who was convicted this summer on domestic violence charges, played a game for the Carolina Panthers five days ago. Apparently when Goodell promised a change in how the NFL treats domestic violence cases, he meant that they would somehow be taken less seriously.

Unfortunately, the lack of punishment for domestic violence in the NFL is unsurprising. Rice, Hardy, and Goodell are symptoms and products of a larger culture of violence. Athletes are not only absolved of responsibility by the NFL but by the legal system and court of public opinion. Paradoxically, the arrest rate of NFL players for domestic violence and sexual assault are both much higher than the general population, but the conviction rates of professional athletes are lower for the same offenses. The courts refuse to hold athletes responsible for domestic and sexual violence and the public still makes NFL games the most viewed programs on television.

As Roger Goodell said, something has got to change. The NFL has a massive sphere of influence that can be used to construct a new narrative around domestic violence and sexual assault. Since Goodell is too afraid to challenge the culture of violence he needs to step down and allow someone new to change that “something” he referenced in 2012.

Take action – it’s time for #ResignGoodell!

17 responses to “Roger Goodell Has Accepted the Culture of Violence and He Needs to Go

  1. Women and violence in the NFL is the Rhino in the bathroom. I say Rhino in the bathroom because the Elephant in the living room is visible and the Rhino in the bathroom is where you get flushed.

    The issue of violence against women (I abhor the word “domestic” as it means zero in the context of the violence) and professional sports has ,for decades, focused on the relationship between the fan and the team. If you can bet on it, you can lose and if you lose you take it out on the nearest object which is usually the person sharing your bed. The identification of violence against women and/or the family of a player is only hot in the past few years but you can be sure it has been that Rhino in the bathroom for decades. I believe an in depth study from the 60’s to now is appropriate dissecting the relationships between layers and their partners. The results will not be too surprising.

    What is need now, in the 21st Century, is the enlightened examination and evaluation of how professional sports leagues have ignored this issue and help them establish not just policies for the perpetrator, but programs to help the victims/survivors and the families with prevention being at the top.

    It is all well and good to get rid of Goodell. You can see how red his face was during the CBS Nora O’Donnell interview. It got redder when she asked him about the video and if it showed up at the NFL.
    First sign of lying!!!

    It is all well and good for the NFL to get Mrs. Rice the therapy she needs as we all know that any man as old as Rice was when he “courted” when she was 16 and still has a literal stranglehold; requires a lot of care that her own family is obviously incapable of providing. I can only imagine what he did to her when she was a teenager to get to this point. It is all well and good for the NFL to tell sports “Talking Heads” like Stephen A of ESPN’s First Take to get off the air. It is all well and good for the NFL to own up and take responsibility for the mental health of any and all women who were violated by their employee and look back to all of the other women who came to them for help and fund stone cold ignorance and silence. But it is not enough.

    Addressing the Rhino in the bathroom is the answer. Look back, fix what you did and take ACTION to create programs for women and families of ALL employees not just the players from here on. Bring in the experts on violence against women and children. Professional sports is a pressure cooker and when the pressure gets too high, it blows with the most vulnerable being the ones the explosion effects.

    As for NOW, a call for a boycott and picket lines outside the stadiums until good ol’ by Roger is off to the unemployment office and an actual expert in violence against women and families is brought in needs to start STAT. Bringing the former head of the FBI!!!??? Really? Do they think that is all they need to do? An investigation of “What did They Know and When did They Know It” is necessary to substantiate the lies and possibly an obstruction of justice charge and it can be the foundation for the future of this never happening again. But to start with the FBI instead of a violence against women expert is just another smack down on women.

    This is a very big job and one NOW is up for I am sure. The NFL is where we start. MLB, NBA, NHL are next, yes? Lets not forget the minor league teams where the pressure is even higher.

    I will on a picket line if that is what it will take. LA has no team but San Diego is only an hour away from me.

    Thank you for allowing me to offer my opinions.

    *Titles for identification purposes only


    Ruthee Goldkorn
    Principal, No Barriers Disabled Access Consulting and Advocacy Services
    Chair, California Democratic Party Disabilities Caucus
    Former President/Current Board Member. The Ms. Wheelchair California Pageant, Inc., a non profit advocacy and activism corporation for the benefit of women with disAbilities
    Executive Committee/Legislative Committee, Californians for Disability Rights, Inc.

  2. How does the NFL’s attempt to stop domestic violence compare to other walks of life -congress,law enforcemnt,doctors,actors ,musicians, etc.?

  3. I am a strong advocate for women issues, but I cannot stomach the picking a choose a rally, why, because the money? Please YOUTUBE patrol brutal beats woman. The law enforcement guy is still free to walk the streets. The woman only crime was being mentally ill BIPOLAR. I did not see or heard of one person protesting marching or releasing a nationwide campaign to get all of these TYPES of severe abuse in JAIL. Or is everyone abstain from violence EXCEPT THE PEOPLE WHO IS SUPPOSE TO PROTECT US!
    Thank you.

  4. Why don’t u ask Americans for a one day boycott on Sunday. Turn the channel, no betting from say 1 to 4 pm. At 1 pm kick off no one in stands for first 30 minutes. More meaningful than pink shoes

  5. As a women who knows first hand that of domestic violence 40 years ago, I find it appalling that the press and this organizations focus is on critizing Godell. Society would be a scary place if we place men like Godell as judge and jury. Rather the focus should be on Why? why? Why? Is not the NJ prosecutor who had this tape all along not prosecuting Ray Rice. You think in 40 years we’ve come along way baby? Hell no! It is OUR responsibility to put pressure on NJ and get help for this women!

  6. I am appalled that NOW has taken a stand regarding the resignation of the NFL Commissioner.
    Janay Rice is only one of the 1.3 million women who are victims of physical assault by their partners each year.1 Does NOW really think that this petition calling for the NFL commissioner’s resignation will in any materially way help the other victims’ of domestic violence?
    The truth is that football is violent. In professional football, violent and aggressive players are cheered, paid millions, and adored. Universities all over the country give inestimable dollars of scholarship grants to those students willing to hit and tackle others. The high school football team is cheered, and parents push their kids to play hard enough to get football scholarships. The basics of this violent game are taught to five years old.2
    If NOW is really concerned about the violent crimes committed by professional football players, then why don’t we advocate for our memberships to boycott the NFL? Taking real, positive action by hitting the NFL where it hurts: in the cash register. NOW could recommend that members:
    • Stop paying NFL salaries. Don’t go to games, don’t watch games on television, and don’t buy products from companies who sponsor the NFL with their advertising dollars.
    • Do not buy NFL-branded products.
    • Do not continue to support violent sports by enabling the next generation. Do not sign the consent form to allow your kids to play football at any age.
    If NOW really wants to hold the NFL to account, think about this: the NFL is a monopoly that does not pay taxes. That’s right. The NFL is organized as a 501c nonprofit.3 Why isn’t NOW demanding that the team owners and the NFL show that they are seriously concerned about the abuse of women by turning over a fraction of their massive profits to real 501c nonprofit organizations who actually help victims of domestic violence?
    That would be a petition worth signing.
    1 Source: Public Policy Office of the National Coalition Against Domestic
    2 Source: The Chicagoland Youth Football League
    3 Source: The Weakonomist, April 26, 2013

  7. 1. Petitions are not enough. We need to start, right now, planning and publicizing an alternative to Superbowl Sunday. Not some girly quilting bee, either. We need ideas for an alternative activity that will draw viewers away from the game and related activities. That should scare the NFL, its sponsors, and every grocery store/pizza joint in America.

    2. This problem is not limited to the NFL. Just look at the way football playing rapists are treated by their schools and home towns.

  8. I’ll see your boycott of any given Sunday and raise you to Super Bowl Sunday. Let’s all go to the movies or something. Need ideas.

  9. I don’t condone Ray Rice’s action at all. I don’t agree with the NFL’s handling of the situation. The NFL needs to be more proactive than reactive to domestic violence in order to mitigate/eliminate occurrences. However, the NFL does not have the market cornered on the domestic violence violators. There are several recent stories about a federal judge and cops in several cities committing the same crime. But it gets minimal attention compared to the NFL problems. As a society, we should demand domestic violence is addressed by every organization across the board…Not just the NFL.

  10. Respect goes both ways. Men shouldn’t hit women. Women shouldn’t hit men. That’s true equality.

  11. Are you going after GM. I am sure there are many more instances of abuse, DUI, and general bad behavior. Their employees should be fired. No tolerance. GM sells to millions of woman. They use TV, print and internet to market woman. I happen to know they don’t care about domestic violence toward woman and don’t fire their many employees who exhibit this behavior. Let’s unite and fire the head of GM

  12. Speaking of Sunday afternoon: Women are offended by the “Ickey Dance” performed by Ickey Woods (former Cincinnati Bengals player) in a new GEICO ad that aired during NFL games on Sunday. A picture of him performing his trademark dance is seen in this newspaper article about his participation in a Bengals players gang rape in 1990 of a Seattle woman. He payed the woman $30,000 to keep quiet.

  13. As a 20 yr season ticket holder of the NFL, its becoming more and more uncomfortable being female at the games on Sunday. I witness a constant barrage of verbal assaults towards female fans by male fans, never ending inappropriate sexual comments regarding cheerleaders dress and dance routines, and actual threats and intimidation by opposing teams fans men towards females of home teams.
    My husband has almost come to blows several times because of inappropriate behavior of adult men at the games. Well, if your NFL commissioner allows his players to act violently towards women and children, beta male fans will follow suit.
    Maybe a female boycott of the games is necessary? And why aren’t the NFL cheerleading squads speaking up? They need to, they are the females of the league!

  14. NOW are a bunch of hypocrites! you have no trouble jumping on tv exploiting this topic or others in the past like teens in orgies sobering up and yelling rape in order to advance your organization but you have been SILENT on rape in the military. i havent heard a peep from this organization supporting an inquest into the girl that was found raped, beaten, a bullet in head, and bleach in her vagina. where have you been in giving a voice to the numerous women that get dishonorably discharge from the military for trying to report rape? you’re a joke and i wont sign a thing you publish until you truy advocate for women and stop playing politics in order to advance your own clandestine agendas!

  15. I have a slightly different view of the boycott. Pick an NFL sponsor any sponsor gather support for the boycott. When Goodell and the owners vow to hunker down and not be swayed by the boycott expand it to 3 sponsors, then 5, then 7. I would be surprised if Roger wasn’t toast within a week. I’ll gladly support whatever you decide to do.

  16. Why not go further? All women, mother’s of innocent children and men who love women and children… stop purchasing any and all official NFL merchandise until reasonable and League wide standards are implemented and all the abusers are standing behind Roger in the unemployable line!

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