Unless it’s a bad PR look, or there is video leaked by a third party, the NFL doesn’t care about domestic violence because we have not given it a reason to do so.
The NFL is a private business whose main function is to make money, which it is exceptional at doing. Because its customers are junkies for its product.
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Until the NFL has a financial reason to care about domestic violence, don’t expect much more than the occasional TV spot, inconsistent investigations that make no sense, and empty campaign-style rhetoric that will promise and never deliver.
You know ... what it’s doing right now.
In response to the criticism over its “handling” of multiple domestic violence cases, in 2016 the NFL released the PSA spot titled, “No More,” which feature a selection of prominent players, from Eli Manning to Cris Carter to Aeneas Williams, Jason Witten, LaVar Arrington, etc.
In the video, Manning says, “No more ‘boys will be boys.’”
As this latest incident involving an NFL player and domestic violence with Kareem Hunt shows, the NFL Boys Club made up by the owners is doing just fine.
Whereas the NFL had a large cash incentive to address those gosh darn protesters, no one is making enough of a fuss for this league to care enough about its employees who beat up women.
From fans to the self important blowhard members of the media, such as myself, we are the problem.
We consume this junk food called NFL football at such a gluttonous rate that that league can do whatever it wants. Until we turn it off, and don’t talk about the NFL, the Boys Club remains free to do as it desires knowing it will not lose a single customer, or advertiser.
The latest example of this is the NFL’s “handling” of Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, who was seen on video assaulting a woman back in February. He was released over the weekend after TMZ released the video of the incident.
The NFL’s investigation into this DV case lasted less than the time it took for it to research the particulars of two men it previously suspended for far less serious incidents. Because the NFL spent no time on the Hunt case; he all but said as much.
Dallas Cowboys running back Zeke Elliott was slapped with a six game suspension in 2017 for doing... something. Something so not good the NFL could never actually say what he did.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was suspended four games in ‘16 for taking a tiny bit of air out of a football.
Former Panthers and Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy beat up his ex-girlfriend and was given a four-game suspension. No video was involved.
Former Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended two games for his DV incident with his then-fiancee in early 2014. Then the TMZ video came out that showed him knocking her out.
The NFL claimed it did not see the video until TMZ released it. Funny how TMZ can find these videos the NFL cannot.
Rice was then suspended indefinitely. He was eventually reinstated by the NFL, but he has not played since that altercation.
And, of course, there is Reuben Foster, whom the Washington Redskins signed three days after his arrest for DV charges. Foster had previously been with the San Francisco 49ers, who released him after learning of this latest incident.
Don’t bother looking for consistency. Stop with the cries of unfairness, or absurdity.
The NFL doesn’t care because its customers do not make them.
Businesses care when their customers exert their leverage in the relationship.
The NFL had no choice but to address the player protesters because someone could draw a line correlating decreased TV viewership and that movement. The NFL threw a bunch of money at the protest movement, which save for Panthers safety Eric Reid, is just about dead.
Fans and media may be disgusted by it all, but not so much as to turn it all off and consume something else.
So we may say “No More,” but these boys will be boys.