NFL has issues disciplining it’s players


Denis Perez / The Advocate

The National Football League has a history of misbehaving players being shielded from legal prosecution.

By Luis Lopez, Advocate Staff

There is no doubt the National Football League will do whatever it takes to protect the reputation of “The Shield,” especially from anyone looking to shine light on its many blemishes.

But lately, it’s been the players causing issues that have shined light on the league’s lack of disciplinary behavior.

Problems escalated with the mishandling of the Ray Rice incident, where the former Baltimore Ravens running back was seen on video knocking out and dragging his fiancée from an elevator only to receive a four-game suspension.

Surprisingly, his punishment was the equivalent to what Patriot quarterback Tom Brady received for deflating footballs to achieve better grip in a playoff game.

Even under public scrutiny, Kansas City Chiefs’ wide receiver Tyreek Hill was allowed to play after an audio tape of him verbally threatening his son and fiancée was released, along with a possible admission to having hit them before.

According to league reports, over 90 NFL players have been arrested for domestic abuse, driving under the influence or drug possession since 2017.

In a league of 1,700 players, this only equals 4 percent of players being arrested.

The percentage is low compared to the one third of the population that has a criminal record. The big difference is the crimes players are being arrested for and the amount of times they have been arrested.

Some players have been arrested up to 10 times, as is the case with former corner- back Adam “Pacman” Jones. More than 50 percent of the crimes committed by professional football players include violence.

All this begs the question, what is the NFL doing to discipline these wealthy athletes running amuck in our society?

It seems the NFL is taking precautions to help their players avoid any more run-ins with the law. Of the 900 NFL players arrested in the past 19 years, about a quarter of them were arrested for driving under the influence.

According to USA Today, to combat this growing epidemic, the NFL Players Union (NFLPA) announced an alliance with the ride sharing company, Lyft, that would credit active players $250 in ride credits beginning in 2018.

The alliance is an incentive for players to use Lyft instead of driving drunk if they choose to go out and drink. However, this alone will not fix the problem of player arrests.

For athletes participating in the biggest sports league in the country, it is almost impossible to keep any run-in with the law a secret.

There is no shortage of football players being arrested, but what there is a shortage of is those same football players actually being held accountable by the NFL.

Most of the issues players have with the law are settled out of court, which no doubt the NFL prefers.

In an era where players with multiple arrests are allowed to play, yet those who test positive for marijuana get their game check dinged and are ultimately suspended, only the NFL can control how they handle their athletes.

The NFL needs to do something to protect their athletes from themselves and also protect society from their players.

To do this, the NFL is going to need to wield a heavier hand with their disciplinary actions to show players that violent behavior and breaking the law will not be tolerated.

The solution could be a lifetime ban if the players commit a crime such as domestic abuse. Such discipline could serve as a deterrent to help prevent such events.