Debate It

A Tale of Two Leagues: Can the NFL learn from NBA's response to controversial social issues? Silver is up

Tale of Two Leagues: Can the NFL learn from NBA on domestic violence?

Roger Goodell
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has dropped the ball on a number of recent controversies. Photo courtesy of NFL
Donald Sterling
After LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling made racist remarks, the NBA immediately suspended him and forced him to sell his team.  Photo by Nypost.com
Robert Griffin III
Also among long-swimmering NFL controversies is the Washington Redskins name, which many people find to be racist. Washington Redskins/Facebook
Adrian Peterson fashion show, February 2013, Adrian Peterson, red carpet
Adrian Peterson's "whooping" of his son focused more attention on the NFL's wobbly policies about abuse. Adrian Peterson Photo by Adrienne Raquel
Roger Goodell
Donald Sterling
Robert Griffin III
Adrian Peterson fashion show, February 2013, Adrian Peterson, red carpet

The NFL has been busy these past few weeks dodging and weaving like Walter Payton, trying to avoid the big hit. By now, everyone in the free world has seen and heard about Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice cold-cocking his then-girlfriend in an Atlantic City hotel elevator.

We have since learned plenty about Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson disciplining his son by giving him a “whooping” causing injuries severe enough to lead a doctor to alert authorities.

 Former players talk about protecting the shield (the NFL logo), but there seems to be an underlying avoidance of standing up for what’s right in the league office.

We co uld continue this rap sheet with other names such as Carolina running back Greg Hardy, San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald and let’s not even get into whether the Redskins is an offense name or a badge of honor. Let’s face it, the NFL is having a rough time, but much of it seems self-inflicted.

It was not that long ago when former NBA owner Donald Sterling was recorded making racist remarks to his female friend. What happened? The NBA immediately suspended him and forced him to sell his team. Granted, he made a boat-load of money, but the NBA demonstrated a zero tolerance towards anything which could tarnish the league.

Since then, the Atlanta Hawks have also been severely punished for “insensitive” comments, which interestingly enough, are not illegal, yet caused great embarrassment to the NBA. But now the NBA faces its own domestic violence telling point with Charlotte Hornets forward Jeffrey Taylor getting arrested and charged with domestic assault.

The world will be watching to see how the NBA and new commissioner Adam Silver responds. So far Taylor's been told he will not participate in any team activities while the league investigates.

No one can argue with the fact that the NFL is the most popular sport in the land. TV ratings seem to be broken every season and fans sell out stadiums every Sunday (and Monday, Thursday and the occasional Saturday games). So it is puzzling why the NFL does not institute a zero tolerance policy.

Do they think not having a Ray Rice or Adrian Peterson on the field will diminish fan interest, or God forbid, cause the owners to lose revenue? Former players talk about protecting the shield (the NFL logo), but there seems to be an underlying avoidance of standing up for what’s right in the league office.

Now I do believe in due-process (although that didn’t seem to be a problem when it came to Donald Sterling and the NBA), but many, including sponsors like Anheuser Busch are beginning to ask what the NFL stands for and don’t think that hasn’t gotten the owners attention.

Roger Goodall is taking the heat, but it needs to be noted that he works for 32 owners who are ultimately responsible for what takes place when it comes to league operations. Up to this point, owners are supporting Goodall, but could easily throw him to the wolves, or worse, the court of public opinion, which will make everyone feel better, but solve nothing.