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Domestic Violence and Sex Crimes in the NFL

Brian J Smith Sept. 17, 2014

In a sport with violence at its core, it is no wonder that the National Football League has been bombarded with cases of domestic violence and sex crimes over the past few years. While some fans refuse to let off-field actions impact their views on the sport, many individuals and brands have publicly expressed their negative feelings and opinions on the league’s process of punishing players who have committed these crimes. When dealing with disciplining athletes for these kinds of crimes, the NFL needs to tread carefully to make sure they don’t get in any legal trouble regarding player’s rights. Here are some of the bigger names involved in recent NFL scandals and why the league must be cautious of how they react.

Ray Rice

After admitting to punching his girlfriend in an Atlantic City elevator, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was given a two game suspension by Commissioner Roger Goodell back in July. But after a video of Rice knocking out his girlfriend in the elevator emerged, the public outcry and negative attention caused the league to go back on its word. Goodell changed the two game suspension to an indefinite ban in September, causing Rice and the NFL Player’s Association to appeal the new punishment handed down. While Goodell and the league already has egg on its face for the way it initially handled the incident, they could be in even more trouble if the courts agree that labor laws dictate that the NFL can’t punish a player for the same crime twice.

Adrian Peterson

Speaking of going back on a decision, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson’s status has been in limbo since he was arrested on charges of child abuse in early September. The Vikings initially decided to sit Peterson for one game, then chose to activate him, but eventually realized that the public backlash was so great that they placed him on the exempt list. Although Peterson won’t miss any paychecks, the star halfback won’t be able to participate with the team for the foreseeable future.

Darren Sharper

Former New Orleans Saints safety Darren Sharper has been charged with multiple sex crimes and is currently in a Los Angeles prison for allegedly raping and drugging two women at a California nightclub. Even though Sharper is currently out of the NFL, his charges are yet another black eye on a league that appears to be out of touch with its players and guidelines.

If the NFL doesn’t get a handle on how to properly discipline players, they could lose millions of dollars in endorsement deals and its status as the nation’s favorite sport. For more information on domestic violence or for a knowledgable sex crimes attorney in Las Vegas, contact Brian J. Smith today at (702) 380-8248.

Photo by Keith Allison