The NFL took yet another hit to its reputation Friday afternoon when it was announced that Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child.
The Vikings deactivated Peterson prior to their game against the Patriots before re-activating him a day later.
On Monday, the same day he was re-activated, additional reports came out stating Peterson injured a different son in a separate incident.
Peterson’s indictment capped what might have been one of the worst weeks in NFL history.
The league will be trying for a long time to repair its image after mishandling a domestic violence incident between former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice and his now-wife, Janay Rice. Rice was initially slapped on the wrist with a two-game suspension after it was made public that he dragged his then-fiancee, Palmer, out of an Atlantic City, N.J., casino elevator.
It was only when video surfaced on TMZ of Rice striking his then-fiancee inside the elevator that the Ravens took action by cutting him from the team while the league handed down an indefinite suspension.
An Associated Press report alleged that a person from the NFL offices received the damning video from law enforcement in April.
The league’s lack of action is nothing new. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has long talked a big game about cracking down on players who make the NFL shield look bad. However, his words often fall on deaf ears when the league continues to turn a blind eye to the victims that suffer at the hands of its professional athletes.
If the AP report is true, it proves once again that the league cares more about money and perceived image than its viewing audience’s real interests.
Goodell became automatically unpopular with some players when he made it clear the league would act upon off-the-field conduct even if the legal system had not played out. Then-Tennessee Titan Adam “Pacman” Jones was suspended for the entire 2007 season for his conduct at a Las Vegas night club — along with other incidents — before the case had been closed.
When Goodell decided to play judge and jury with Jones, he made a vow to stand for justice across the board. But he has failed to take a stand against senseless acts of violence, and instead has come down hard on players like Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon.
Gordon was suspended 16 games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy against marijuana. Goodell’s iron fist was lowered on Gordon and Browns fans, but he could not take a stand for violence against women.
Gordon’s suspension could be reduced to 10 games under the NFL’s new drug policy.
Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera made the decision Sunday to bench defensive end Greg Hardy after he was convicted of assault on a female and communicating threats July 15.
Hardy appealed his conviction and is waiting on a Nov. 17 trial.
“The climate has changed,” Rivera said Sunday according to a report by USA Today. “And we have to most certainly look at things the right way because we really do have to get this right.”
Rivera is correct. The onus is on the Panthers to handle the situation with fervor because the league has long failed to take the correct course of action with domestic violence.
If the Panthers and other teams don’t take responsibility for their players’ conduct, then who will?