I am so excited for our fantasy football league to start! Hopefully, I’ve beefed up my game this year and will kick your butt. Brace yourself.
But I have another reason to be excited about football season this year, and that’s the NFL’s new domestic violence policy. Under new, strict reforms, players would be suspended for six games after a first offense, and completely banned from the NFL after the second. In a world where macho, strong men, some of the strongest in the world, too often get off the hook for their bad behavior, this is a huge deal. Such a huge deal that violence against a partner can end their career.
It’s a terrifically important first step, and hopefully a decision that will impact other sports leagues, such as the NBA.
I know this move won’t necessarily protect all women from domestic violence, nor will it ensure a conviction (“offense” will be determined by the league, not a court of law), but it will mean that players are not allowed to recover their careers after doing something so heinous. It will remove them permanently from the pedestal we put athletes on in our society.
Edit: According to a report I heard on NPR this morning, people won’t be completely banned from the NFL for domestic violence. They will be banned, yes, but can be reinstated after a year, according to Morning Edition. This is better than the two game suspension that Ray Rice received, but still a far cry from ensuring that abusers have their careers completely ended by their violent actions. While I applaud the NFL’s stricter standards, I’m still disappointed that violent men can be allowed to return to football at all after proving, multiple times, that they pose a danger to their partners. It remains to be seen how this policy will play out.