NFL fumbles the ball once again

Alana Cervera, Online Managing Editor, Sports Columnist

Former Vikings running back Adrian Peterson used a switch (a thin branch or rod used for whipping) to discipline his 4-year-old son that resulted in numerous bruises and lacerations on his body in May 2014. The bruises were discovered during a routine doctor’s visit concluding the injuries were from apparent child abuse.

A TMZ video was released of reigning NFL champ Kareem Hunt shoving and kicking a woman in Cleveland in Feb., similar to that of former Ravens Ray Rice dragging his wife’s unconscious body from an elevator in 2014. Hunt has been cut from the Kansas City Chiefs nine months later, only since the video has gone public.

Most recently, San Francisco 49ers linebacker, Reuben Foster was arrested on a second-degree marijuana charge and suspicion of domestic violence charges, as well as threats and assault weapon possession. On Nov. 24, Foster was arrested in an incident with his girlfriend, Elissa Ennis, pushing her phone out of her hand and slapping her across the face. The 49ers released Foster a day later. The Redskins picked him up on Nov. 27, despite the fact that the criminal investigation isn’t over.

After four years and even more before that, the NFL has not learned their lesson. A lesson that even the latest #MeToo movement hasn’t taught them.

Football players hurt women or children, coaches turn a blind eye, games are still played, spectators continue to worship the players and the cycle goes on until the next player strikes again.

From Business Insider, the combined value of all 32 NFL franchises is worth $74.8 billion. But none of this money has been put toward the social injustice of the whole organization.

The NFL tried to put together a six-game suspension after the Rice debate, but continues to struggle to enforce it, despite everything that’s happened.

Why can’t they stick to their rules?     Because of public pressure and outside forces with the economy, of course. They mishandle cases with domestic violence and shouldn’t be handling them in the first place. Through their mishandling of Peterson, Rice and Foster, they’ve only shown their irresponsibility and apathy toward domestic violence.

Their story is somewhat similar to the recent Nassar scandal. Both USAG and the NFL have come under fire for enabling people to harm others. There’s no full reports, limited punishments, many turn a blind eye and a whole lot of cover-ups to dig them out of their own hole.

But the difference with the NFL is that it’s more powerful than USAG. The NFL is worth billions of dollars and through education, changing reports and actions could make a big difference in the treatment of women in the entire country.

According to NBC’s total audience delivery, the NFL has approximately 22.2 million viewers each season. To keep that in perspective, the population NYC and LA combined is only about half of the NFL’s viewership.

Therefore, I believe the NFL could make a big impact on the poor treatment of millions of wives and children, but it doesn’t. I think it really could, but it won’t ever happen.

This is because it took them nine months to drop Hunt from his team and, additionally, they never finished investigating Peterson’s child abuse.

And before you think about victim shaming and asking the question, “Why would she stay with him?” or “How could someone let this happen?” Let’s ask the 22.2 million viewers the NFL gets. Let’s ask the parents who wear Peterson’s and Hunt’s jerseys and idolize players to their children.

But more importantly, let’s ask ourselves why has it taken us so long to finally pay attention to what happens to millions of women every year. I think the saying of “out of sight, out of mind” can be applied to this, and I guess we have to see it to believe it.

Or at least, I know the NFL does.