All Articles Tagged "nfl"

Why The NFL’s ‘DeflateGate’ Ruling Is A Slap In The Face To Women

May 12th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
Share to Twitter Email This

Tanvier Peart Baltimore Ravens NFL Fan

I’m an NFL gal through and through who can sip on a cocktail (not into beer) and quote stats with the guys. The game has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My uncle played for the Baltimore Colts before they quietly left Charm City in the midnight hour to call Indianapolis home. My dad was recruited by the Dallas Cowboys but ended up turning them down as basketball was his game. While it would’ve been cool to have a father who played in the league, I more than likely wouldn’t have been born if he did.

Coming from Baltimore, I proudly bleed black and purple for my Ravens. I remember when we first got the team from Cleveland and voting on the name. Even though I no longer live on the East coast, I make sure to catch every game and stay abreast of what’s going on.

When news and video broke that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice hit his wife unconscious in an Atlantic City elevator, I was appalled and angry. Yes there should be room in our hearts for forgiveness, but that doesn’t take away the consequences of our actions. Who knows what went on behind closed doors (that’s their business), but I thought the league was a bit soft on Rice, only suspending him for two games. Sure he was indicted and took a reduced deal (a 12-month intervention program), but they still had video of what happened. At least to me and other female fans, two games was a light tap on the wrist and doesn’t show a strong stance on the issue.

After heavy scrutiny and reports revealing the NFL had prior knowledge of what happened, the Ravens eventually released Rice that later led to an indefinite suspension. He has since been reinstated and allowed to play.

While I’m happy the NFL finally had to take a look at their policies on violence against women, you mean to tell me New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gets twice as many suspended games because it’s “more probable than not,” he knew about deflated balls during the AFC Championship game? The team also received a $1 million fine and the loss of draft picks for 2016 and 2017.

How does that make sense?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of the Patriots and am well aware of their questionable dynasty, including “Spygate” where coach Bill Belichick and the team were fined for illegally filming their opponents for five years. At some point karma will come back to bite you in the butt.

Obviously the two incidents — a repeat of cheating in the case of the Patriots — are different. I get that. What infuriates me and other women I know who love the game is how quickly the NFL was to reprimand the New England Patriots and how long it took to get a consequence with a more serious issue. Folks want to say they don’t agree with domestic violence…but since it did not happen on company time, he can still play. While it might not be normal practice, there are way too many examples of celebrities and regular people getting fired from their job due to poor off-the-clock behavior.

Does the NFL not realize that women in many cases are the backbone of the game? Sure we don’t play or coach, but we surely do make up 45 percent of the fan base. We also happen to the be the fastest-growing fan demographic with our viewership rising each year. I don’t think it’s a smart move to drag your feet when dealing with players involved with domestic violence, especially when you have clear footage.

Since news broke about “deflategate,” comments and opinions have questioned what the heck the NFL is thinking. Conversations on and offline have also been interesting. While many of my gal pals and guy friends think a two-game suspension for beating your wife is ridiculous, there are some who think it was enough for Rice. Here’s my question, if the roles were reversed–and Tom Brady was Black and Rice was White–do you think there would be a bigger outcry of injustice?

main image courtesy of Tanvier Peart

NFL Introduces More Strict Conduct Policy

December 17th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
Share to Twitter Email This

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
Share to Twitter Email This

Me………

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
Share to Twitter Email This
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
Share to Twitter Email This
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
Share to Twitter Email This
AP

AP

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
Share to Twitter Email This
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
Share to Twitter Email This

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
Share to Twitter Email This
WENN

WENN

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
Share to Twitter Email This
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.”