The NFL has lost its way. It doesn’t have a Ray Rice problem; it has a violence against women problem.
- According to FiveThirtyEight.com, the relative arrest rate of NFL players is fifty-five percent for domestic violence, and thirty-eight percent for sex offenses.
- Days after announcing his new domestic violence policy, Goodell said Ray McDonald of the San Francisco 49ers, who is facing a felony domestic violence charge, could play in the team’s season opener against the Dallas Cowboys.
- Greg Hardy is still playing for the Carolina Panthers, even after being convicted in July of choking his former girlfriend and threatening to kill her.
Goodell’s response to accusations that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones sexually assaulted a woman has been: radio silence.
The only workable solution is for Roger Goodell to resign, and for his successor to appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community, and to recommend real and lasting reforms.
The NFL sets the example for college, high school, middle school and even elementary school football programs. And the example it is setting right now is simply unacceptable.
New leadership must come in with a specific charge to transform the culture of violence against women that pervades the NFL.
That’s the only way to restore honor and integrity to the country’s most lucrative and popular pastime.