All Articles Tagged "nfl"

NFL Introduces More Strict Conduct Policy

December 17th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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The National Football League has instituted a new, more strict conduct policy after months of scrutiny and backlash over the handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence case and other issues within the NFL ranks.

Among the new policies, as outlined by The Chicago Tribune:

-“The appointment by the commissioner of a league office executive with a criminal justice background to issue initial discipline.” This is a new position, with the appointee determining punishment for violations.

-“[A]  new league conduct committee comprised of representatives of NFL ownership that will review the policy at least annually and recommend appropriate changes with advice from outside experts.”

– “A baseline suspension of six games without pay for violations involving assault, battery, domestic violence, dating violence, child abuse, other forms of family violence, or sexual assault, with consideration given to possible mitigating or aggravating circumstances.”

There’s also an emphasis on education and services for survivors.

Commissioner Roger Goodell, making the announcement last week, said that he’s consulted with a number of outside organizations to come up with the policies. Among them was the Black Women’s Roundtable, who we spoke to about their recommendations last month. We were in touch with some specific questions about whether some of their recommendations were taken or how they felt about the policy and only got this statement in return from Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the organization: “The Black Women’s Roundtable is reviewing the NFL’s new personal conduct policy. We plan to provide feedback as the NFL works to implement its new policies.”

More definitively, The Huffington Post called the policy merely a start.

The NFL’s updated conduct policy is by no means a cure-all. But it is a step in the right direction. It clearly articulates consequences. It shows support for and provides resources to survivors. It tells the fan base that domestic violence and sexual assault are not ok under any circumstances–in the NFL or frankly in society at-large.

Any thoughts on the policy?

NFL Player Darnell Dockett Defends His Creepy Malia Obama Post

December 4th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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A photo posted by Darnell Dockett (@dockett90) on

Earlier this week, we told you about the now infamous Instagram post from NFL player Darnell Dockett featuring Malia Obama.  While I found it disgusting, some argued that it “wasn’t a big deal” because it was a repost and he only included the caption “LMAO” and “OMGGG” not the initial “When her prom?” comment. Anyway, after all the negative media attention he’s received, Darnell took to Twitter to explain himself and scold the media and social media users for reporting or misreporting the story. Here’s what he had to say.

Ok, Darnell. Since you have a daughter, perhaps you should ask yourself how you would feel if a grown man posted a picture of your daughter. And not a picture of her face, but her behind. And then said, “I didn’t say anything.” It was just a repost.

Nah, B!

You were wrong. And you’re right, you can post whatever you want but not without consequence. So, perhaps deleting your Twitter account until you get your mind right might not be such a bad idea.

She’s Only 16! NFL Player Comments On Malia Obama’s Body On Instagram

December 2nd, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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NFL Player Comments On Malia Obama's Body On Instagram

Source: Instagram

A lot of people, women and men alike, have dismissed the whole movement to end street harassment, claiming that it’s not that big of a deal. It should be ignored. The comments strange men direct toward us women, about our bodies, on the street, are compliments.

But the problem is these comments in the manner and prevalence with which they’re directed to all women and apparently young girls, represents a sick type of entitlement. Men feel entitled to our bodies, to the point where they feel comfortable to say these things to a complete stranger, someone’s daughter, sister, friend.

You need look no further than football player Darnell Dockett’s Instagram page to see this entitlement. Against better judgment, Dockett posted a picture of the President Obama’s eldest daughter Malia Obama walking out of the Portrait Gallery. In the blurry image, you can see Malia’s shape. The image was circulated all over the internet, specifically Twitter with men well over 18 commenting on her behind, as if she weren’t still a minor…and the president’s daughter.

Source: Instagram

Source: Instagram

And Dockett posted this image on his Instagram account. Actually, it was a repost. Which is much of the problem. The original poster wrote: “When her prom?” Darnell reposted it with an “Lmfaooo.” 

Some of you might not consider that to be a major offense, but in Internet speak, an “Lmfaooo” is basically a cosign. So, no Darnell doesn’t get a pass for this one.

As you might assume, with Dockett being a public figure and all, his followers let him know this was wrong…and stupid.

He deleted the photo but not before someone had a chance to grab a screenshot.

Poor Malia. She has Secret Service Agents with her when she leaves the house and even she is not immune. And after the ridiculous and disgusting Elizabeth Lauten comments, I think we can all agree that she’s had enough, right?

What do you think should happen to Dockett? Should he be reprimanded by the NFL for this? Should he be suspended? After all, with sexualizing and sex trafficking underaged girls so common in this country, it’s not an attitude that should be taken lightly. Or should we ignore it since he deleted the comment, seemingly grasping the error of his ways?

As I mentioned before, Dockett wasn’t the only one. Should his status as a professional athlete/celebrity result in him being used as an example to discourage this type of behavior? How do we let men know that directing their sexual urges toward underaged girls is never appropriate? And more importantly, why don’t they know this already?

What do you think? Either way, Darnell needs to watch his mouth—or social media presence–before he ends up missing. Barack and Michelle don’t play that.

Black Women’s Roundtable Offers Recommendations To NFL On Domestic Violence Issues

November 20th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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Ray Rice publicly apologizes to his wife, Janay Palmer, for Valentine's Day assault.

Source: AP

Last Friday, representatives from the Black Women’s Roundtable met for a second time with Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, spending two hours discussing recommendations to both handle existing domestic violence issues and, hopefully, eradicate the problem entirely.

“The key that we honed in on was prevention and intervention strategies,” Melanie Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and the convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable.

Campell couldn’t discuss the details of the recommendations because she wanted to give the NFL a chance to consider the options and decide on next steps. However, among the suggestions were a number of organizations that are led by women of color that can serve as resources in cities across the country that have NFL teams, according to a press release about the meeting.

What Campbell did discuss was the need for diversity on the panel that is making decisions about how to proceed on this issue. A single women of color has been appointed to the panel the NFL created to address these issues, but, as Campbell says, “We feel they can do more. Hence the recommendations.”

To be sure, domestic violence is an issue that’s larger than the NFL.

“Cultural change needs to happen,” Campbell continued. “Domestic violence is a problem in this country. There’s an opportunity to hone in on that. To be able t work and engage with [the NFL] is the best we can do.” And, perhaps, the NFL can serve as a model for how the country can move forward.

In terms of diversity, the Black Women’s Roundtable sees its role as one of bringing cultural nuance to the table. One example Campbell used was where Black women turn for help. Traditionally, it’s not a hotline, but rather a church or family member. So any strategies moving forward should take that into account.

But whether the league ultimately does what needs to be done is up to them.

“The devil will be in the details when it comes to their policy changes,” Campbell told MN. “It’s up to us to make sure this isn’t lip service.”

There’s no deadline for feedback on the recommendations, but Campbell says communication continues.

“Surely this is something that won’t get fixed overnight. But it’s important to stick with it. We’re talking about people’s lives,” she said.

Could Constant Head Injuries Be The Reason Why So Many NFL Players Are In Trouble For Domestic Violence?

September 24th, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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If you’ve been watching the news lately, I’m sure you’re probably wondering, what’s going on with so many NFL players that they are being accused of domestic violence one right after the other? And while NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league are working to find the right ways to punish these players for their actions, the folks at “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” (great show by the way) are wondering if there is something behind these assaults that the NFL hasn’t yet looked into.

In the preview for an upcoming episode of the show, correspondent Jon Frankel talks with not only doctors, but the wife of late San Diego Chargers safety, Paul Oliver. The NFL player, 29, committed suicide on this very day last year, shooting himself in front of his wife and two sons in his home. His widow, Chelsea Young, says that before he took his own life, Oliver gradually became more violent with her. She says that she had known him since college and he was never abusive before, but when he started to be, she says that he told her “I don’t know what’s wrong with me.”

In the piece, Young sends Oliver’s brains to Boston University to have them examined and it’s discovered that he had advanced CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). And while it’s not yet been proven that repeated concussions can cause CTE, the condition can be caused by exposure to a major blast or blow and the subsequent movement of the head afterwards. Symptoms of CTE, including depression, aggression and memory loss, can appear years or even decades after the injury.

It’s an interesting question to ask, whether or not the injuries NFL players sustain play a part in them acting out in such violent ways, and it looks like one Frankel will seek an answer to in his segment, which airs in full on October 21 on HBO. Check out the preview below and share your thoughts.

Ray Rice Appeal Will Scrutinize Edited, “Cleaned-Up, Whittled Down And Condensed” TMZ Video

September 22nd, 2014 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Disturbing footage of Ray Rice knocking out fiancee in hotel elevator leaked.

Sources: Corbis Images, TMZ

According to ESPN, Ray Rice’s legal team hopes to go after his indefinite suspension by pointing out that the NFL extended his suspension based on an edited videotape.

NFL Insider and analyst Adam Schefter said he was informed by legal sources close to Rice’s appeal that his team will scrutinize the videotape that made national, if not international news (I got wind of the whole story while in Greece) because it was an edited, “cleaned-up, whittled down and condensed version” of the actual events in that elevator in Atlantic City back in February.

Former director of the FBI, Robert Mueller, was brought on by the NFL to investigate how the league as a whole and the Baltimore Ravens handled Rice’s case, as well as who saw the elevator video and when they originally saw it. TMZ has since responded to the news that their video will be criticized as part of his appeal:

Ray Rice will reportedly argue that TMZ Sports edited the “inside the elevator” video … thereby altering what really happened that night.

He’s right. We did edit the video … and we made that point crystal clear in our original post — the same post where we also INCLUDED the raw unedited version showing Rice KOing Janay Palmer.

As we initially reported, the original raw video was jerky — in that it would move forward  and then in reverse every couple of frames … so we removed the reverse frames. 

Again, TMZ Sports included the raw video in our original post.

It seems that Rice and his team are going to great lengths to get his indefinite suspension overturned, including citing double jeopardy in the league’s decision to harshly punish him after they had already suspended him for two games, and after Rice claimed (and sources back up) that he told the Ravens up-front that he punched then-fiancée Janay Palmer. Through the unedited version, Rice hopes to show that his story lined up exactly with what he told the Ravens so that the league will be held accountable for trying to flip-flop on suspensions.

But at the end of the day, indefinite suspension taken off or not, it doesn’t change the fact that he knocked his then-fiancée out cold and treated her body like that of a rag doll…

NFL Partners With Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault Groups; Goodell Gives Awful Press Conference

September 19th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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The NFL, in its continuing efforts to quell the outrage over its treatment of violent offenses among members of its league, has announced that it has partnered with two organizations — the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

In the past week, according to Roger Goodell, the NFL’s commissioner, the domestic violence hotline has received 80 percent more calls, but it doesn’t have the resources to handle all of those calls. In a memo that was sent to the league’s 32 teams, the NFL’s support will provide for 25 full-time advocates in the next five weeks, giving it the ability to take 750 more calls.

In addition, the memo, which the Los Angeles Times got its hands on, says the teams will participate in education sessions and training programs over the next month. And the league is going to beef up its current programs.

Goodell then held a press conference this afternoon at 3pm ET in which he repeated a good chunk of this information. He added that there are experts that will look at player and employee conduct policies “including his role in the process,” and the league will implement new policies. The goal is to have the committee in place by the Super Bowl. Which seems like a really long time to hire people to sit around and talk about an issue that is happening now and requires some urgency, but OK.

Then it was time for Goodell to take questions from the reporters in the room and that’s when the presser devolved into a rambling, mumbling mess. When asked whether he ever considered stepping down from his job, Goodell said he “never considered resigning,” then said something about all the work he has to to do and all the changes they’re going to make.

When asked why there are no women of color among the domestic violence experts that have been brought on board to consult with the league, he said that wasn’t true, then went on about people of color being on staff and working on the changes.

He repeatedly deflected questions about the independent investigation that’s being conducted about the way the recent incidents were handled.

Then TMZ lowered the boom and asked why Goodell or anyone else didn’t take some initiative to get the surveillance video from the elevator. Goodell stands by the league’s efforts, saying they’re going through law enforcement.

“We found that (video) by one phone call. You guys have a whole legal department,” the TMZ reporter said. Ouch.

The fall out from the press conference is pretty huge and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better for Goodell or the league anytime soon. It was announced today (prior to the presser) that Procter & Gamble’s Crest toothpaste brand has pulled out of plans to partner with the league on its on-field breast cancer awareness promotion planned for next month. It hasn’t pulled anything else, but is watching the situation, it says. The company still plans to donate $100,000 to the American Cancer Society.

And Sen. Cory Booker says the league should have its nonprofit status snatched. Wait… the NFL is a nonprofit? The league brought in $9 billion last year. “This common sense update to our tax laws would save more than $100 million over 10 years — money that can instead be used to pay for vital support programs that have seen their funding slashed in recent years due to sequestration and gridlock,” the Senator said in a statement. A number of other politicians agree with him.

Says The Huffington Post:

According to the organization, the league falls under nonprofit status because its administrative office acts as a trade organization, handling responsibilities like overseeing game rules and employing referees — not contributing to profitable efforts by the league’s 32 teams, which pay taxes on tickets, jersey sales and television rights — ABC News reported.

Goodell’s terrible press conference shows that while he sees the league needs to do something — that people are angry and they want to see the NFL respond — he and the league are completely and totally clueless about both what to do and, in a way, why people are so mad in the first place. There’s this palpable sense that they’re being pushed to action grudgingly by fans and sponsors every step of the way. 

Ray Rice May Cite “Double Jeopardy” In Legal Charge Against NFL

September 19th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Relatives of Ray Rice and his wife Janay Rice recently revealed that the couple plans to take legal action against the NFL for his league suspension. The couple will cite “double jeopardy” for the repercussions placed upon Rice for his domestic violence assault. Earlier this spring, a video surfaced of Rice dragging his then-fiancee, Janay out of an Atlantic City casino elevator. In May, the ex-Baltimore Ravens running back pleaded guilty to third-degree aggravated assault.

Although Rice pleaded guilty, another video surfaced of him punching Janay unconscious in the elevator before dragging her out. Once the second video surfaced, the Ravens terminated him and his $35 million contract. The NFL followed suit and served Rice a lifetime suspension. The second round of much more severe punishment is what Rice could be questioning.

The Daily News reports, Rice’s appeal may spark congressional action. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says of the controversy: “If the NFL doesn’t police themselves, then we will be looking more into it. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had hearings.” She also noted the NFL poorly responded to Rice assaulting his wife. Most people would likely agree with her.

Senator Gillibrand stated if NFL’s Commissioner Goodell lied to the public about not seeing the full video coverage, he should step down from his position. Gillibrand was one of the 16 female senators who sent a letter demanding there is a “zero-tolerance policy” for domestic violence occurring in the NFL players personal lives.

Black Women’s Group Calls Out The NFL For Exclusion From Group Of Domestic Violence Experts

September 18th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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Ray Rice publicly apologizes to his wife, Janay Palmer, for Valentine's Day assault.

Source: AP

The NFL, in its efforts to get a handle on its response to the various abuse scandals and allegations, has created a group to seek out answers, led by Anna Isaacson, a community affairs vice president. And they’ve enlisted the help of three domestic violence experts: Lisa Friel, former head of sex-crimes prosecution for the Manhattan district attorney; and Jane Randel, co-founder of NO MORE, an advocacy group focusing on domestic violence and sexual assault; and Rita Smith, the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

But the Black Women’s Roundtable, an organization comprised of a variety of female leaders, has an issue with the exclusion of Black women from that group.

“[Y]our lack of inclusion of women of color, especially black women who are disproportionately impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault; and the fact that over 66% of the NFL players are made up of African-Americans, is unacceptable,” the group said in a statement.

Rev. Jesse Jackson has also taken issue with the lack of diversity among the group.

“Where is the jury of your peers?” he said.

The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida says that two-thirds of the league is African American.

In its response, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy agreed that there is a need for diverse thinking to address the issue, and gave assurances that the effort to better handle this issue is a collaborative one.

“To be successful and make a real difference, the entire NFL will be responsible for the development and implementation of education, training and support programs,” he continued.

It’s clear that the NFL is well behind the times on a variety of issues, and it has finally caught up with them. But on women’s issues in particular this could be a huge setback for the league and for the goals of Commissioner Roger Goodell. Five years ago, he set a goal to grow the league into a $25 billion business by 2025. To do that, it would have to court the millions of women the league says are fans. Now, The New York Times says, the league is struggling to continue a convincing pitch to women.

“I urge them to seize this moment,” said PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, a major NFL sponsor. “How they handle these cases going forward can help shape how we as a nation, as a society and as individuals treat domestic violence and child abuse.”

Nike Suspends Its Contract With Adrian Peterson Over Abuse Allegations

September 17th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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Update: It looks like anxiety is turning into action.

Sponsors are getting more vocal about their anger over the NFL’s handling of all of the recent controversy. Where there are many who have gone the traditional route, saying they’re monitoring the situation (GM and FedEx were among those) there are others who are making stronger statements. They haven’t entirely pulled their dollars, but their words are stronger than many we would normally hear.

“We are not yet satisfied with the league’s handling of behaviors that so clearly go against our own company culture and moral code. We have shared our concerns and expectations with the league,” said Anheuser-Busch in a statement. Their deal with the NFL is worth $50 million.

McDonald’s has released a similar statement, as did Visa and Campbell’s Soup. Numbers quoted by the Associated Press show that the NFL reaches 17.4 million people during an average regular season football game, making their reach incredibly valuable for a brand.

Nike, which can claim to have a tremendous reach and influence as well, has suspended its contract with Adrian Peterson entirely.

The Vikings announced today that Peterson has been suspended indefinitely.


Original story posted September 16, 2014

Sponsors are starting to feel the heat over their financial support of the NFL in light of the domestic violence situation involving Ray Rice and child abuse charges against Adrian Peterson. Already, we have one brand, hotel chain Radisson, suspending its deal with the Minnesota Vikings after the team decided to reinstate Peterson for this weekend’s game. During the press conference announcing that he would be welcomed back on the field, the Radisson logo figured prominently on signage behind the team’s general manager and coach. By last night, Radisson, which is a part of Carlson Hotel Group, had issued a statement saying:

Radisson takes this matter very seriously particularly in light of our long-standing commitment to the protection of children. We are closely following the situation and effective immediately, Radisson is suspending its limited sponsorship of the Minnesota Vikings while we evaluate the facts and circumstances.

In addition to those charges for beating his four-year-old, Peterson was previously accused in an incident in which his child needed his head bandaged after getting a “whoopin” while strapped in a car seat. Peterson said in a statement yesterday that he never meant to harm his son. (Although, anyone with enough sense to come in out of the rain knows that’s what’s going to happen when a large football player armed with tree branches and belts hits a small child. But we digress.) Then we have the issue that CoverGirl is facing over its sponsorship of the NFL in general, given the ongoing situation with Ray Rice. The NFL has been very openly trying to reach female fans, which is no doubt where the make up company comes in. But with the league’s seeming inability to deal with domestic violence, there are some who are calling for CoverGirl to pull its sponsorship. That’s why the photo below started showing up on Twitter the other day.

CoverGirl issued a statement on its Facebook page last night saying:

As a brand that has always supported women and stood for female empowerment, COVERGIRL believes domestic violence is completely unacceptable. We developed our NFL program to celebrate the more than 80 million female football fans. In light of recent events, we have encouraged the NFL to take swift action on their path forward to address the issue of domestic violence.

Most commenters are telling the company to put their money where their mouth is. Others are wondering whether some of the brand’s spokespeople, which includes Ellen Degeneres, Queen Latifah and Janelle Monae, will be moved to discontinue their association with the company or, at the very least, come out with a statement of some sort. At this point, the company has not pulled its dollars.