I love football. I always watch football from Thursday Night Football to high school football, college football, NFL games on Sunday and Monday Night Football. I played football from when I was in first grade to my freshman year in college, but then I picked up broadcasting football games for North Central College on WONC 89.1 FM. Even once in awhile (mostly on Thanksgiving) I’ll go out and play a pickup game of football just to play something I love.
What I don’t love is what’s happening in the NFL today is how they are handling domestic violence. Two examples that happened recently involved former San Francisco 49ers linebacker, Reuben Foster, and former Kansas City Chiefs running back, Kareem Hunt. In 2018, Foster was in two domestic violence incidents. One of them was back on Feb. 11, 2018, which resulted in no suspension due, and another on Nov. 24, 2018. Foster wasn’t suspended for the February and November incidents, but was released by the 49ers. Shortly after the release, Foster was claimed off waivers by the Washington Redskins. Foster did not see the field for the Redskins this past season due to the investigation. Hunt on the other hand, was caught on camera in a Cleveland hotel, shoving and kicking a woman back in February that was made public in November by TMZ. The Chiefs released Hunt the same day and has been placed on the league’s exempt list. Hunt has not been signed by a team, yet.
Hunt and Foster aren’t the only cases the NFL has seen in the past few years. In 2017, the Oakland Raiders selected Gareon Conley in the first round during an active rape investigation. In the second round, the Cincinnati Bengals selected Joe Mixon, who had a video surfaced of him punching a woman in the face. Both players didn’t get suspended. Then in 2014, the unforgettable Ray Rice incident occurred and the NFL only suspended Rice for two games. The NFL got a huge backlash on the suspension, so they tried to suspend Rice again for the same incident, but that’s against league rules to try and suspend a player for the same case, so Rice was able to play again, but no team would sign Rice.
I love football. I always will watch the game I love, but there needs to be changes so that they can hold players more accountable for their actions. These slap on the wrist punishments don’t cut it anymore. The reputation of NFL players is going in the wrong direction and it doesn’t set good examples for future athletes and the fans. The NFL needs to fix up their domestic violence investigation and handling progress and do what’s right for the state of the NFL.