Monday, 22 September 2014

FOOTBALL: What has gone wrong with the game?                    

I first watched games of football in 1950 when I watched the games being played by our team when I was a student at Vancouver College. I played touch football the previous year in Nelson B.C. but they weren’t the rough and tumble games like the real football players play it. I really didn’t remain a fan of football as I was more into baseball. I taught baseball to YMCA kids in the mid-1950s and later during the 1970s, I was a fully trained umpire in a baseball league in Scarborough, Ontario.

At a speech at Harvard in 2012, National Football League (NFL) commissioner Roger Goodell said, “Football connects generations.”  He is right, it does—especially if the players are the kind of sportsmen that fathers want their sons to emulate.

However, nowadays, there are football players and coaches in the NFL who were not and still are not role models. For this reason, fathers don’t want their sons emulating NFL thugs who beat women and children or rape and molest them. But what is the NFL doing about these thugs and sexual abusers? Currently, in most instances, very little.    

What follows are true stories of thugs and sexual fiends who were active players or coaches in the NFL at one time or another.  Keep in mind that there are thousands of NFL players and coaches who behaved themselves admirably off the field but of all the contact sports and other sports, football players seem to be the ones who have those most thugs and sexual fiends in their midst.

First, I will deal with those NFL players who have been convicted of killing someone, or seen killing someone or have been charged with killing someone and are waiting for their trials.                   

O.J. Simpson

This killer was born on July 9, 1947 and is also nicknamed “The Juice”.  He is a retired American football player with the NFL, a broadcaster, actor and currently a convicted felon incarcerated in Nevada. 

He is renowned for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her boyfriend, Ronald Goldman on the night of June 12, 1994. They were viciously slashed to death. Admittedly, he was acquitted of those murders notwithstanding the fact that his ex-wife’s blood was found on one of his shoes and right after the murder, he tried to slip into his house via the back door unseen. 

The pursuit, arrest, and trial were among the most widely publicized events in American history. The trial, often characterized as “the trial of the century”, culminated on October 3, 1995 in a jury verdict of not guilty for the two murders. An estimated 100 million people worldwide stopped what they were doing to watch or listen to the verdict announcement. Immediate reaction to the verdict was notable for its division along racial lines: polls showed that most African-Americans felt that justice had been served by the “not guilty” verdict, while most white Americans did not. Most of the white viewers of the trial considered his criminal trial as being a farce.  

O.J. Simpson was then sued by the family of Ronald Goldman. On February 5, 1997, a civil jury in Santa Monica, California, unanimously found Simpson liable for the wrongful death of and battery against Goldman, and battery against Brown.  Daniel Petrocelli represented the plaintiff Fred Goldman, Ronald Goldman's father. Simpson was ordered to pay as much as $33,500,000 in damages. In February 1999, an auction of Simpson's Heisman Trophy and other belongings netted almost $500,000. The money went to the Goldman family. As far as I know, that is all that the Goldman family ever got from the sale of Simpsons belongings. The Goldman family also tried to collect Simpson's NFL $28,000 yearly pension but failed to collect any of that money.

The State of California claimed Simpson owes $1.44 million in past due taxes.] A tax lien was filed in his case on September 1, 1999. I don’t know of they got any of the money they claimed from him.

In March 2004, satellite television network DirecTV, Inc. accused Simpson in a Miami federal court of using illegal electronic devices to pirate its broadcast signals. The company later won a $25,000 judgment, and Simpson was ordered to pay an additional $33,678 in attorney's fees and costs.        I don’t know if he paid those two sums of money.       

In September 2007, a group of men led by Simpson entered a room at the Palace Station hotel-casino and took sports memorabilia at gunpoint, which resulted in Simpson's being questioned by police. Simpson admitted to taking the items, which he said had been stolen from him, but denied breaking into the hotel room; he also denied that he or anyone else carried a gun. He was released after questioning.

Two days later, however, Simpson was arrested and initially held without bail. Along with three other men, Simpson was charged with multiple felony counts, including criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, assault, robbery, and using a deadly weapon. Bail was set at $125,000, with stipulations that Simpson have no contact with the co-defendants and that he surrender his passport. Simpson did not enter a plea.

By the end of October 2007, all three of Simpson's co-defendants had plea-bargained with the prosecution in the Clark County, Nevada court case. Walter Alexander and Charles H. Cashmore accepted plea agreements in exchange for reduced charges and their testimony against Simpson and three other co-defendants, including testimony that guns were used in the robbery.  Co-defendant Michael McClinton told a Las Vegas judge that he, too would plead guilty to reduced charges and testify against Simpson that guns were used in the robbery. After the hearings, the judge ordered that Simpson be tried for the heist.

Simpson's preliminary hearing, to decide whether he should be tried for the charges, occurred on November 8, 2007. He was held over for trial on all 12 counts. Simpson pleaded not guilty on November 29. Court officers and attorneys announced on May 22, 2008, that long questionnaires with at least 115 queries would be given to a jury pool of 400 or more. Trial was reset from April to September 8, 2008.

In January 2008, Simpson was taken into custody in Florida and flown to Las Vegas, where he was incarcerated at the county jail for allegedly violating the terms of his bail by attempting to contact Clarence Stewart, a co-defendant in the same trial. District Attorney David Roger of Clark County provided District Court Judge Jackie Glass with evidence that Simpson had violated his bail terms. A hearing took place on January 16, 2008. Glass raised Simpson's bail to US$250,000 and ordered that he remain in county jail until 15 percent was paid in cash. Simpson posted bond that evening and returned to Miami the next day.

Simpson and his co-defendant were found guilty of all charges on October 3, 2008. On October 10, 2008, O. J. Simpson's counsels moved for a new trial on grounds of judicial errors (two African-American jurors were dismissed as jurors) and the ground of insufficient evidence. Galanter announced he would appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court if Judge Glass denied the motion.  The judge denied the motion. The attorney for Simpson's co-defendant, C.J. Stewart, petitioned for a new trial, alleging Stewart should have been tried separately and cited perceived misconduct by the jury foreman, Paul Connelly.

Simpson and his co-defendant were found guilty of all charges on October 3, 2008. On October 10, 2008, O. J. Simpson's counsels moved for new trial (trial de novo) on grounds of judicial errors (two African-American jurors were dismissed) and insufficient evidence. Galanter announced he would appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court if Judge Glass denied the motion. The attorney for Simpson's co-defendant, C.J. Stewart, petitioned for a new trial, alleging Stewart should have been tried separately, and cited perceived misconduct by the jury foreman, Paul Connelly.

Simpson faced a possible life sentence with parole on the kidnapping charge, and mandatory prison time for armed robbery. On December 5, 2008, Simpson was sentenced to a total of thirty-three years in prison  with the possibility of parole after about nine years, in 2017. On September 4, 2009, the Nevada Supreme Court denied his request for bail during Simpson's appeal. In October 2010, the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed his convictions. He is now serving his sentence at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada. He will be 70 years old when he is released providing of course, that he behaves himself in prison. What will he do that might be construed as a criminal act once he is released? We will just have to wait and see.

After his acquittal of the Brown and Goldman murders, he didn’t return to football as an occupation. The reason is obvious. Whatever millions he would have earned would have been seized by the Goldman family. Now the question on everyone’s mind is, “What will he do once he is a free man?”

Jovan Belcher 

He was born on July 24, 1987. He grew up in West Babylon, New York and was a standout high school athlete before attending and graduating from the University of Maine, where he played for the Maine Black Bears football team. Belcher was named an All-American twice in college after switching in his junior year from linebacker to defensive end. He was also a linebacker who played for the Kansas City Chiefs of the NFL.

Belcher fatally shot his girlfriend to death on December 2, 2012, then drove to the Arrowhead Stadium and put the gun to his head and committed suicide in front of his coach and general manager in the parking lot of the stadium.  The police said that Belcher and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins, had been arguing prior to the shooting. The two of them also had an infant child.

Anthony Smith

He was born on September 20, 1983 and is is a former American football player who played for six seasons in the National Football League. During that period, he played for as number of teams.

Some of his friends and teammates remember Anthony Wayne Smith as a strange and volatile guy, prone to paranoia and outrageous lies. None would have predicted that he'd retire from football to a life of arson, torture, and murder—but that's exactly what prosecutors alleged. As he waited for his trial for four killings over a nine-year span, Kathy Dobie unraveled a life that made his violence on the field seem like child's play.

Soon after retiring from football, Anthony invested in at least one shady business—an online medical-billing scam that was later investigated by the FTC—and started spending more and more time with gangbangers and thugs.

On a cool, drizzly February night in 2003, at one thirty or so in the morning, a police officer cruising down Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica spotted flames shooting horizontally out a window of the Simply Sofas furniture showroom. From overhead he could hear popping sounds as the fire leapt up to eat at the power lines in the street outside. Inside, the blaze spread quickly, engulfing upholstery and wood, roaring up through the roof and melting the metal skin right off the loading dock door.

The fire was almost immediately deemed suspicious. Firefighters reported the strong smell of gasoline, and when investigators were able to get inside the building the next day, they found three "firebombs"—five-gallon plastic water jugs cut off at the neck, stuffed with paper and filled with gasoline.

Five months later, Sergeant Robert Almada, the police investigator for Santa Monica's Arson Squad Task Force, walked into the interview room at the police station on with every reason to believe things were going his way. He had motive was revenge and he had the kind of physical evidence almost never left behind in a fire: thirty pieces of gasoline-soaked mail, each addressed to the suspect or his wife. (In the heat of the blaze, the firebombs had caved in on themselves, preserving the magazines and catalogs and envelopes inside.) That suspect was Anthony Smith, who was six feet four inches and over 320 pounds, a 36-year-old former defensive end for the L.A./Oakland Raiders, who actually dwarfed the little table in the room. He denied any wrongdoing despite the over welling evidence against him.

There, on an empty stretch of road, Officers Rodriguez and Gray examined the body of a thirtyish Hispanic man slumped into a pool of his own blood. He had a black eye and bruises and cuts on his back, as if he had been punched and savagely kicked before being shot to death. (The murder weapon was later determined to be a nine-millimeter.) The identification in his pocket showed the man to be Maurilio Ponce, and soon the detectives were sitting with his widow, Angie, who told them he had left the night before, driving her white Lincoln Navigator, and he had his cell phone with him. The police had found no cell phone and no Navigator. But it didn't take long for them to get hold of Maurilio's phone records, which showed a series of calls to Anthony Smith in the hours before his death.

The week before Maurilio was murdered; he took off work from his diesel-mechanic business. He stayed home and played with the kids, reading them stories by the fireplace and dancing with the three of them in the living room of the ranch house he and Angie had just bought.  Maurilio was 31 years old, with a wry sense of humor. He and Angie had met when they were teenagers, both working at McDonald's, only Maurilio was also holding down jobs at Taco Bell and a little Mexican restaurant in town, sending money back to his family in Mexico, putting his younger brother through college and graduate school. After they married, they set up shop, starting the business in 2001 with one used tire. Now Piki's Truck Repair had three employees and contracts with national trucking companies like Mayflower and U-Hall

Moberly began investigating until he found a similar case that matched the description. It was the case of the Nettles brothers. On November 11, 1999, Ricky Nettles' body was found on a street in Compton, and his brother, Kevin's body was found dumped eight miles away. Their heads were wrapped in duct tape, and they had been shot multiple times. Among other signs of torture, Ricky had a burn mark on his stomach in the triangular shape of a clothing iron. Both had been handcuffed.

The evening before, according to police, Ricky and Kevin were closing up their businesses on Vernon Avenue—an auto-repair shop, a hand car wash, a cellular and beeper store, and a barbershop. Kevin was sitting in the small front office of the auto-repair shop with a friend, watching the Lakers game. A tall black man wearing a green police jacket, a metal badge clipped to his belt, came in the shop with his gun drawn. He ordered Kevin outside.

Meanwhile, Ricky and an employee named Manny were across the street, closing up the barbershop. Ricky left the shop while Manny stayed behind to lock up. When Manny was through, he testified, he headed over to the auto shop. That's when he says he saw a large man dressed in a dark suit, with a badge fixed to his belt and a gun in a shoulder holster, putting Ricky into the backseat of the car. Ricky's hands were pulled behind him as if he'd been cuffed. Kevin was already in the back of the vehicle, a dark-color four-door sedan. "What are you guys doing?" asked Manny.

"We're taking him down for questioning," the big man in the suit said. Then he got into the car on the passenger side, and the car slid out of the lot and down Vernon. The next time anyone saw the Nettles brothers, they were dead, and Ricky's apartment had been ransacked.

In the weeks following Denny Ray's murder, the police suspected Anthony Smith was involved in all three killings, but the cases went cold—and stayed that way until detectives Martin Mojarro and Jeffrey Allen from the LAPD's cold-case unit revived the investigation in 2011.

At the pre-trial hearing, Manny, now a wiry 68-year-old man with a few teeth left in his mouth, took the stand and said fiercely, "Ricky never made it to the garage. He was stopped by the so-called police. He was stopped by that guy right there—" And he pointed across the room at Anthony Smith. The D.A. showed him Ricky's autopsy photos. Tears flooded Manny's eyes. Looking straight at Anthony, he muttered, "You son of a bitch."

During the hearing, Anthony seemed particularly vulnerable. He sat close to his lawyer, tilted toward him, occasionally scanning Evans's profile as if he might read his fortune there. Whenever evidence was passed to the defense table, mostly photographs of crime scenes, Anthony would lean forward with squinted eyes and seem to be studying them. Except for his lawyer, no one was there for him in the courtroom. His wife, now a district attorney for San Bernardino County, was absent. (During his arson trials, she'd appeared almost every day.) When family members have tried to visit him in jail, he has refused them so they didn’t appear at his trial.

Family members of Denny Ray Henderson and the Nettles brothers were in the courtroom in October, too. Several of Ricky's relatives showed up each day of the hearing, including two of his children. They'd waited thirteen years to find out what had happened to their father. Ricky's son Dashan had the satisfaction of watching Anthony look straight across the courtroom at him—and wince. "He looked like he'd seen a ghost.

I can’t find anything in the Internet stating that his trial is over.

Jim Dunaway

His wife-murder case was not highly publicized in 1998. In that year, Dunaway's ex-wife, Nonniel Dunaway was found dead in a half-empty swimming pool. An autopsy revealed that she had a fractured skull and was unconscious when she was placed in the water by her assailant where she drowned. Prior to this event, Nonniel had won a divorce judgment against her husband which gave her more than 800 acres (3.2 km2) of property that the couple owned, $1800 a month in alimony and half of Dunaway's NFL pension.

Dunaway was charged with her murder but a grand jury chose not to indict Dunaway of the charges. In response, his children filed a wrongful death lawsuit against him alleging that Dunaway was responsible for their mother's death. In 2002, Dunaway was found liable and ordered to pay $579,000 to his children.

Ironically, Dunaway had been a teammate for three seasons of star running back O.J. Simpson, who was similarly found civilly responsible for his ex-wife's death after being acquitted of her murder in a controversial trial in 1995

Aaron Hernandez

He was born on November 6, 1989. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft. Hernandez played college football for the University of Florida, where he was a member of a BCS National Championship team and was recognized as an All-American football player.

On August 22, 2013, Hernandez was indicted by a grand jury for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a semi-pro football player, in July 2013. On May 15, 2014, Hernandez was indicted for the 2012 double murders of Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado. Hernandez has maintained his innocence in all three murders.

On June 18, 2013, Hernandez's house in North Attleboro was searched by police for several hours in connection with an investigation into the shooting death of his friend, Odin Lloyd. There was an eyewitness to the murder.  Lloyd's body was found in an industrial park about a mile away from Hernandez's house with multiple gunshot wounds to the back and chest. The Massachusetts State Police obtained a search warrant after evidence surfaced that Hernandez intentionally destroyed his home security system. A cell phone belonging to Hernandez was turned over to police “in pieces” and Hernandez allegedly hired a “team of house cleaners” the same day Lloyd's body was discovered, thereby raising additional suspicion.

Later that day, Hernandez was charged with first-degree murder, in addition to five gun-related charges.  If he is convicted of first-degree murder, Hernandez faces life in prison without the possibility of parole since Hernandez cannot face the death penalty, because the state of Massachusetts abolished the death penalty in 1984. He is currently being held without bail at the Bristol County Jail.

On June 27, 2013, law enforcement sources told the media that Hernandez was also being investigated in connection with a double murder that took place on July 16, 2012, in Boston's South End when Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu, 29, and Safiro Teixeira Furtado, 28, both of Dorchester, were killed by gunshots fired into their vehicle. On May 15, 2014, Hernandez was indicted on murder charges for the killings of Abreu and Furtado, with additional charges of armed assault and attempted murder associated with shots fired at other surviving occupants in the vehicle. If convicted, he will face an additional two life sentences without parole. Of course that is academic since one life sentence without parole is sufficient to keep him incarcerated for the rest of his natural life.  He hasn’t had his trial yet.

Hernandez's arrest and subsequent termination led to financial and other consequences for both Hernandez and the New England Patriots. Hernandez's release meant he automatically forfeited his 2015–18 salaries, totaling as much as $19.3 million, which were not guaranteed. The Boston Globe reported that the Patriots voided all remaining guarantees, including his 2013 and 2014 salaries, on the grounds that those guarantees were for skill, injury, or salary cap room, and did not include being cut for “conduct detrimental to the best interests of professional football”. Furthermore, the Patriots will attempt to withhold $3.25 million of Hernandez's 2012 signing bonus that was due to be paid in 2014, and to recoup the signing bonus they have already paid.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that, while charges against Hernandez are pending, the NFL will not approve any contract signed by Hernandez until Goodell holds a hearing to determine if Hernandez should face suspension or some other action. 

CytoSport and Puma canceled their endorsement deals with Hernandez; Puma canceled its deal after Hernandez's arrest, while CytoSport canceled its deal with him a few days prior. EA Sports announced that Hernandez's likeness would be dropped from its NCAA Football 14 and Madden NFL 25 video games. A prize-winning photo of Hernandez from his rookie season at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, was removed after visitors complained. Panini America, a sports memorabilia and trading card company, removed stickers of Hernandez from approximately 500,000 sticker books which had yet to be sent to collectors and replaced the stickers, as well as trading cards, with cards depicting another NFL player The University of Florida has removed Hernandez's name and likeness from various locations at its football facilities. According to Boston CBS affiliate WBZ, all Hernandez memorabilia and merchandise were removed from the team's official pro shop at Patriot Place, and their website, within hours of Hernandez's arrest.

Hernandez’s reputation has gone down the toilet, with his income following close behind and his freedom no longer exists. If he hadn’t killed those people, he could have had all of which he lost and much more. This angry former footballer is really paying a high price for having such a bad temper.

There were certain high school and college football players who were accused sex offenders and whose communities routinely gave them a pass. Why do so many cops and prosecutors treat high school and college football players who rape and/or molest women as though the law does not apply to them? Admittedly most police officers are honorable officers and are committed to doing the right thing. The same can also be said of prosecutors.

Coaches, teachers, professors, athletic directors, alumni and other boosters, campus cops, fawning sports reporters, and university presidents, parents and friends can and often do collude with a system that excuses violent sexual assaults and drug dealing, kidnapping, hit and run violations, drunk driving, home invasion robberies, dope ripoffs, theft, animal abuse, child neglect, domestic violence, even murder. They ignore these criminals as if they hadn’t done anything wrong. Unfortunately, their victims suffer from the antics of these football criminals

It is not uncommon for a sexual assault victim to be so traumatized she can't finish school, get a job or return to work. She's lost her capacity to trust, to forge loving and lasting relationships. Some, like a 19-year-old woman, who in August 2010, nine days after she reported having been sexually attacked by a Notre Dame football player, killed herself.

Seattle police detective Maryann Parker did a superb job in her investigation of allegations that Jerramy Stevens, a so-called walk-on-water football player for the Washington Huskies, raped and sodomized a young virgin at a Sigma Chi party in June of 2000. Following a SWAT operation, Parker and her colleagues arrested Stevens. The King County Prosecutor's office, following delay after delay after delay, during which time Stevens helped lead the Huskies to a 2001 Rose Bowl victory, ultimately declined to file charges against this man despite there was sufficiently strong evidence, including an eyewitness report, that should have been put before a jury to decide.

How do we stop this nonsense? That’s simple: stop treating athletes as gods. Given probable cause for crimes, arrest them. With sufficient evidence, charge them. Upon conviction, kick them off the team and out of school that is in addition to whatever jail time they get. Not until these privileged thugs feel the sting of lost earnings, a wrecked career, loss of freedom and at least a dose of the shame they have visited on their victims will we really see any real improvement in the students who play football in their schools and colleges.

Here are some of the recent NFL player’s violent domestic and physical abuse cases.

Ray Rice

He was born on January 22, 1987) and is a professional American football running back. He played  college football  for  Rutgers University   and was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He is ranked as the Ravens' second all-time leading rusher behind Jamal Lewis (7,801) with 5,940 yards, and is also second in rushing attempts (1,273) and rushing touchdowns (37), and third in combined touchdowns 

Rice was arrested and subsequently indicted for third-degree aggravated assault on February 15, 2014, relating to an incident where he punched his then-fiancée Janay Palmer in the face, knocking her unconscious. He then dragged her unconscious body out of the elevator in a casino in New Jersey like a bag of potatoes. On March 27, 2014, a grand jury indicted Rice on third-degree aggravated assault, with a possible jail sentence of three to five years and a fine of up to $15,000. Rice then married Palmer on March 28, 2014.

Rice was suspended for the first two games of the 2014 NFL season on July 25, 2014. The criminal charges were later dropped after Rice agreed to undergo court-supervised counseling.

On September 8, 2014, TMZ released additional footage from an elevator camera showing Rice punching Palmer. The Baltimore Ravens terminated Rice's contract as a result. The NFL commissioner during a TV appearance on CNN on September 19th, 2014 admitted that he made a mistake when he suspended Rice for only two games. He said that after he saw the footage taken inside the elevator, he corrected his error and suspended Rice indefinitely. The NFL Players Union has appealed that decision.  He also fined him $500,000.  This case was a real scew up. Either the league was protecting this player or the commissioner is incompetent. 

As many as 7,000 Raven fans have returned their Ray Rice Jerseys so far. They were given replacement jerseys of other Raven players in return. The remaining unsold Ray Rice Jerseys are being sent to a company to be destroyed and use as scrap material. How about using the scrap material to wipe toilet bowls? 

Adrian Peterson

He was born on March 21, 1985 in Palestine, Texas. He is a star running back 
with the Minnesota Vikings and is in his eighth season, all of them with the Vikings. He is widely considered the best running back in the NFL.

Authorities in Texas issued an arrest warrant on September 13, 2014 for Adrian Peterson after he was indicted on a charge of child abuse for using a branch made into a switch to spank his four-year-old son. His son suffered bruises and cuts around his legs and scrotum. Peterson was swiftly benched by his team for an upcoming game. 

Peterson used the same kind of discipline with his child that he experienced as a child growing up in East Texas. That is an extremely weak excuse for whipping his own son with a switch.

This isn't the first time he has physically abused one of his sons. KHOU-TV in Houston reported a new allegation about Peterson involving a different son. The station said it had obtained photos and a text exchange between Peterson and the boy’s mother that suggest the boy, then 4 years old, suffered a head wound when Peterson disciplined him for cursing at a sibling. The exchange did not make clear how the wound occurred. The report said the mother filed a report with Child Protective Services. No action was taken. I am presuming that since no action was taken in that incident, Peterson presumed that no action would be taken in the recent incident. That was a big mistake arriving at that presumption.

Last season, not long after finding out that he had a another 2-year-old son living in South Dakota, Peterson rushed to the hospital after authorities said the boy was brutally beaten by his mother's boyfriend. The boy died, and the 28-year-old boyfriend is scheduled to go on trial in October 2014 on second-degree murder charges in the case.

Peterson said that he never intended to harm his son and is deeply sorry.  It is beyond belief that he didn’t intend to harm his young son especially when he left bruises and cuts on his son’s lower body with the switch he used on him. Of course he is sorry. Peterson faces up to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine if convicted and he may be suspended indefinitely from the NFL which will result in him losing millions of dollars in income each year.

Meanwhile, Peterson’s defence is that he beat his son regularly, but it was not abuse when he was doing it because he knew what his teal his intent was. I think we all know what his intent was. It was to inflict pain on his son to get a message across to him. The Vikings have agreed. Peterson is back into the Vikings while general manager Rick Spielman fumbled his way through a half-assed rationalization of that decision.

The Peterson case is also a real screw up. He certainly is a public relations disaster for the NFL. Peterson has acknowledged that he has beat his children in the past. He has six of them living with almost that many different homes  which tells you something about his character. And yet, the commissioner has seen fit to permit his to continue playing on his team. He says that Peterson is presumed to be innocent until he is convicted in court. Does this mean that a rapist who is caught should be permitted to be free because he is presumed to be innocent until he is convicted in court which will occur two years after his arrest? 

Peterson has publicly begged for forgiveness by stating that he was beaten when he was a child and he said that even the school he went to still believes in corporal punishment. His excuse is feeble at best. Parents who beat their children and schools who use corporal punishment on their students are far behind the times. It is considered barbaric and we simply don't do that anymore. I was strapped at school and beaten at home and I never used any form of corporal punishment on my children and they grew up just fine, Further, they don't use corporal punishment on their children either. 

Greg Hardy 

He was born on July 28, 1988.  Three years ago, he was regarded as a future first-round pick. Injuries have taken their toll, to the point where he couldn't even start games at Ole Miss last season. He was used solely as a situational pass rusher and was nowhere near as explosive as his sophomore season. Hardy has a combination of height (6 foot 4) and great bulk (275 lbs) at the defensive end spot. Hardy was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the sixth round (175th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. He was signed to a contract on June 17, 2010.

Hardy was convicted on July 15, 2014 of assault on a female and communicating threats after the victim claimed the 6-foot-4, 275-pound player threw her in the bathtub and onto a sofa covered with guns before threatening to kill her. Hardy is appealing the ruling and a jury trial is set for Nov. 17.

The Panthers removed Greg Hardy from the team's active roster until the Pro Bowl defensive end's domestic violence case is resolved. Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman said Hardy will continue to be paid and is allowed to be at the team facility, but will not practice. Hardy earns more than $770,000 each week during the regular season. Hardy, who was tagged as Carolina's top pass rusher. had signed a one-year, $13.1 million deal.

Ray McDonald

He was born on September 2, 1984. He plays a key part of the 49ers defense
 McDonald was arrested in 2010 on suspicion of drunken driving in San Mateo County, and again in 2012 on an outstanding warrant from that arrest. But in 2014, his real problem emerged. McDonald, 30, was arrested at 2:45 a.m. on August. 31 for allegedly causing visible injuries to his fiancée at his home in San Jose. He was later released from jail on $25,000 bond and had been given a court date for him to appear.

After being released from jail, McDonald told television reporters, “I can’t say too much, not right now, but the truth will come out. Everybody knows the kind of person that I am. I’m a good-hearted person.”

Neither the 49ers nor the NFL have suspended McDonald, with Niners coach Jim Harbaugh and league commissioner Roger Goodell saying they would let the criminal investigation play out.

Jonathan Dwyer

He was born on July, 26, 1989 in Woodstock, Georgia, USA. He is a running back with the Arizona Cardinals.

He head-butted his wife and broke her nose after she refused his sexual advances and if that wasn’t enough, he punched her in the face the next day. He was arrested on aggravated assault charges and deactivated from all team activities. He spent a night in jail and made a brief court appearance the next morning before being released on a $25,000 bond. When asked if he will play football again, he replied that he would.  Meanwhile his team deactivated him.

This raises an interesting question. Since a person accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent unless he is convicted at trial, should an accused football player still be permitted to play football with his team? In my opinion, that decision should be based on one of two factors. If the evidence is obvious, such as in the case of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and , Jonathan Dwyer then they should be removed from the active list until the matter is determined at trial.

However in Rice’s case, the matter did go to trial and he was convicted and simply ordered to seek help for his aggressiveness. Nevertheless he has been removed from his team and the NFL commissioner has banned him from playing in the NFL indefinitely. He has however suggested that as time moves on, he may permit Ray Rice to return to the NFL. As I said earlier, his banishment is being appealed.

In Peterson’s case, the evidence is obvious that he beat his 4-year-old son with a switch. He has even admitted it. But the general manager of the Vikings permitted him to continue playing with the team. That in my opinion was a terrible decision. This is when Roger Goodall, the NFL commissioner should have stepped in and ordered Peterson to be removed from the team until a verdict is arrived at Person`s trial, a verdict of guilt that seems so obvious to most or all those who have seen the bruises and cuts on the little boy’s body. 

Roger Goodall, the NFL commissioner and some NFL teams have been heavily criticized for lenient or delayed punishment of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and other players involved in recent domestic violence cases. Less than three weeks into the season, five such cases have made headlines, the others involving Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald and Jonathan Dwyer. Vikings star running back Peterson, Carolina defensive end Hardy and Arizona running back Dwyer are on a special commissioner's exemption list and are being paid while they go through the legal process. 

As these cases have come to light, such groups as the National Organization of Women and league partners and sponsors have come down hard on the NFL to be more responsive in dealing with these men. Congress also is watching to see how the NFL reacts.

According to commissioner of the NFL it will provide financial, operational and promotional support to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Centre. The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides domestic violence victims and survivors access to a national network of resources and shelters. It is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week in 170 languages. Goodall noted that the hotline received 84 percent more calls from Sept. 8-15, and the organization said more than 50 percent of those calls went unanswered because of lack of staff. "The hotline will add 25 full-time advocates over the next few weeks that will result in an additional 750 calls a day being answered, since the NFL is contributing several million dollars over a period of several years to bring this about.

The real important question is yet to be answered.  Should these men’s football careers be permanently terminated?  Obvious the killer’s football careers will be terminated permanently if they are convicted of murder. Further, I believe that those who are convicted of any form of sexual abuse should also be permanently terminated. But I am not sure that those footballers who are convicted of physical abuse should be permanently terminated on the first offence however I am convinced that if there is a second offence, they should be terminated permanently. This would include Jonathan Dwyer since he has enough time to reflect what he did the first time before he then repeated his assault on his wife hours later,

Physical acts committed in contact sports such as American football, ice hockey,  rugby,  lacrosse, soccer, boxing, mixed martial arts, wrestling and water polo are far beyond the normal levels of contact expected while playing those sports especially when playing football.  But we rarely hear of anyone in those other sports other than in football being charged with murder, sexual abuse or domestic violence.

What causes football players to be so violent?  Suffering from an intermittent explosive disorder may be a cause of their violence. Some athletes may be genetically predisposed to violence because (particularly male athletes) they have unusually high testosterone levels. I believe that since playing football entails the players to forcibly attack their opponents, this may also carry over to other people who are less able to defend themselves such as women and children.

I also think that part of the problem is a result of the concussions that football players may be repeatedly submitted to. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. It can occur after an impact to the head or after a whiplash-type injury that causes the head and brain to shake quickly back and forth. Concussions which commonly occur among athletes can cause damage to the brain that lasts for decades. Concussions are usually not life threatening but can cause serious symptoms that require medical treatment.  Unfortunately, not all persons who suffer from concussions even know that their brain injury is serious enough for them to seek medical treatment. Often football coaches would send their brain injured player back onto the field which of course was a terrible blunder on their part. They could argue that they didn’t know the player was brain injured.

Seventy-five former professional football players are suing the National Football League, saying the league knew as early as the 1920s of the harmful effects of concussions on players' brains but concealed the information from players, coaches, trainers and others until June 2010.

It is conceivable that the players I wrote about in this article had suffered from concussions in the past but didn’t know about it. They should have an MIR examination of their brains to make that determination. It wouldn’t have an effect on their verdicts but it should have an effect on the sentencing  with the exception of murderers and/or sex abusers.

I am convinced that the real problem with the National Football League is stemming from the owners, managers, coaches and the commissioner.

The owners are billionaires who will do anything they can to keep their franchises’ reputations safe from scandal.  Some of them have taken steps to bury their problems so that the general public is unaware of the existence of those problems. Obviously, if the general public is cognizant of some of the crimes committed by their club’s players, they won’t buy mementos relating to those players and their club. Sponsors will withdraw their sponsorships and that could cost the clubs millions of dollars in income.

For example, the Ravens knew precisely what was on the Ray Rice tape within hours after the incident occurred.  The Ravens’ owner, billionaire Steve Biscotti, the president of the Ravens, Dick Cass and the general manager Ozzie Newsome worked together to suppress the showing of the two tapes over the objections of their head coach.

I am not convinced that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall didn’t know about the video tape soon after Ray Rice’s assault happened showing the inside of the elevator when Ray Rice struck his then girlfriend in her face.  His claim that he had difficulty acquiring it seems flawed since the hotel said that a copy was available if he really wanted to obtain one. Certainly others got copies by merely asking for a copy. A TMZ reporter said that he got a copy with one phone call. It seems strange indeed that the NFL commissioner with his battery of lawyers couldn’t get a copy.  As I see it, the NFL needs their filth to be flushed away with a strong industrial cleaner.

The commissioner is given $40 million dollars a year to govern the NFL. His services are not worth anything like that amount of money.  He took many months after the Ray and Peterson fiascos before he got off his royal ass and began really trying to correct the problems  that are inherent in the NFL regarding its players.

Millions of football spectators will still continue to watch the game in stadiums or on TV because it is an interesting game to watch. And there will still be strange women who will cry out. “We love you Ray.” after Ray Rice was  charged with punching out his wife just as women cried out the same kind of words of affection when serial killer, Charles Mason was paraded past them.

But you can be sure that sponsors are very picky as to who and what they are going to sponsor and if they think a football player is guilty of a violent crime and the club is involved with a cover up, they will dump both in the toilet and flush them away. And even if the players and the clubs reform themselves, their stink will still linger in their former sponsor’s noses.  No amount of apologetic fumigated perfume will completely erase the smell that still lingers in their sensitive public-conscious nostrils.  

No comments: