NFL needs stricter penalties to combat domestic violence

David Bordelon

Greg Hardy, the NFL player who allegedly beat his girlfriend and threatened to murder her last year, was recently heralded by Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones as being a team “leader.” Hardy, just one of many NFL players accused of domestic violence, only received paid suspension for a season, followed by a four-game suspension for his actions. Deadspin released photos of the victim Friday, reigniting public furor against domestic violence in the NFL.

To truly take a stand against domestic violence, the NFL needs to set the precedent and ban perpetrators from ever playing in the league again.

The NFL is facing a public relations crisis with the recent revelations of domestic violence that plague the league. According to their website, the league is making progress to prevent domestic abuse from occurring. Everyone associated with the NFL undergoes domestic violence, child abuse and sexual abuse education. The NFL also provides support to anyone affiliated with the league who experiences any sort of abuse. With so many steps in the right direction, the NFL needs to take the final step — disallowing violators from playing.

The main problem is the extreme visibility the NFL receives. Playing in the NFL is every little boy’s pipe dream, and it’s a potential goal for many high school and college players. When impressionable kids and teenagers learn their idols abuse women and still remain unpunished, they begin to believe abusing women is acceptable. Keeping players in the league perpetuates a culture of abuse, both within the NFL and by influencing young NFL hopefuls.

“Allowing players to continue to participate in games after committing some form of domestic violence sends the message that this type of abuse is okay as long as you apologize for it,” social work junior Anthony Nunez said. “I do not think players that have a history of abuse should be allowed to play because they are representing an organization that millions view, including young boys.”

The NFL isn’t alone in its domestically violent history. College football has an equally long and disgusting list of abuses, particularly sexual abuse. In some instances, such as the Jameis Winston case, colleges have tried to influence investigations, especially for important players. Luckily, UT keeps violators of team rules off the team. However, the double standard for famous athletes regarding domestic violence or abuse is wrong and needs to stop.

It is unknown whether college cover-ups leads to college players being abusers in the NFL, or if the NFL player’s above-punishment status influences college players to follow their lead. Whichever option it is, abuse in football is cyclical and creates a destructive culture.

Currently, murder seems to be the only crime to keep a player out of the NFL. One of the easiest and most efficient ways to end violence among football players is to draw the line — domestic violence should equate to sports career suicide.

Bordelon is a philosophy sophomore from Houston. Follow him on Twitter @davbord.