NFL’s handling of domestic violence is a disgrace

But the opportunity exists for all to learn from it

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

UTKellyColumn copyI have written a handful of “soapbox” speeches in the past and today, it’s time for another one.

As the mother of two boys enamored by all things sports related, I feel compelled to discuss the disgraceful actions of the NFL. In fact, I would venture to say that doing the complete opposite of what these commissioners, owners and lawyers tried to do with the knowledge (and VIDEO) of Ray Rice beating his (then) girlfriend unconscious is a pretty good start.

Making this scandal a teachable moment is perhaps the only way to find a bright spot in a horrific situation. Domestic violence happens every day to people in all different types of jobs and various income levels…this is not news. What is critical to acknowledge is that Janay Palmer did not go on to marry Ray Rice after this altercation because she is a “gold digger.”

The cycle of abuse is predictable and well researched. It is complicated and sad.


The video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice beating his then fiancee unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator — and subsequent revelations of other abuse among players — have brought the issue of spousal and child abuse to the forefront.

What lessons are to be learned?

• It is never OK to hit someone. For any reason. Ever.

• Lying, masking the truth, concealing what you KNOW to be wrong only makes things worse.

• Judging someone for their behavior when you have never experienced what they are enduring is dangerous ground.

• Your status in life should not be based on how much money you make or how powerful and popular that you think you are. Kindness always wins.

• Celebrities are not immune to prosecution. Well, at least they shouldn’t be in an ideal world. Obviously, as a culture, we have some work to do in this regard.

The statistics of the prevalence of violent behavior caused by football players outside the protective walls of the NFL are sobering.

Thankfully, the harsh glare of the social media spotlight has unearthed a problem that needs to be remedied.

What is your opinion on this topic?

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