I try to avoid these discussions on sports talk radio and elsewhere but they have become unavoidable and I feel I need to put my thoughts down in order to get them out of my head. So here's 5 things I think about the current state of the NFL.
1. Ray Rice - in my book a man who hits a woman is a cowardly piece of shit. That's not to minimize female on male or same sex domestic violence but a guy hitting a woman is a special sort of despicable in my world. Rice should be gone from the NFL permanently and I hope NFL owners realize just how heinous his acts were and how radioactive he is as a player. The people who seem to be avoiding proper scrutiny though are the judge and prosecutor who enabled a slap on the wrist even though they saw the video from inside the elevator. Those are the people who should have lost their jobs by now.
2. Adrian Peterson - this one is a little more hazy. I don't believe that corporal punishment is an effective parenting tool but the debate on spanking is complex and involves one group of people telling another how best to raise their kids (in many cases people without kids end up lecturing on parenting). I give Peterson the benefit - he was a man trying to discipline his child who is not aware of his own tremendous strength. What he did to that child is abuse though and went beyond spanking or getting the belt or getting beat with a switch. Peterson is a man with 7 kids from 5 different women - so personally I have to question if he really understands the responsibility of fatherhood. Having said that you know in his world there are women lining up to be the 6th baby momma so at a certain level this becomes more of a societal issue than an NFL one. Peterson will be employed again in the NFL though I'm not sure if it will be with the Vikings.
3. Roger Goodell - he will weather the storm over Rice and Peterson. What may cost him his job is if the recent controversies compel Congress to strip the NFL of its tax exempt status. The NFL being tax exempt is a perversion of the tax code. Goodell could lose his job as a preemptive sacrificial lamb if the owners think it will satisfy Congress enough to quell the issue or Goodell could be fired as punishment from the owners if the NFL loses tax exempt status. This is the issue people should be pushing.
4. Fantasy football - I didn't feel bad avoiding Ray Rice at my fantasy football drafts. I was just being prudent. But fantasy football made me feel dirty when it came to Adrian Peterson because, if I'm honest. my first thought on hearing the news was "Crap - I gotta get him out of my lineup." Mea culpa.
5. NFL pre-game shows - one of the side benefits of the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson allegations is I haven't watched a single minute of any NFL pre-game shows. I need sportcasters and ex-jocks discussing societal issues in my life just as much as I need Hollywood movie stars telling me how I should think politically. I haven't watched any of the shows and I haven't missed them.