Oct. 6, 2014
On Sept. 18, National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell announced that the organization would be overhauling its personal-conduct policy with the implementation of a personal-conduct committee.
The committee, which will be made up of former players, coaches and NFL executives, would work to increase the transparency of the existing personal conduct policies already set in place.
It’s too late. The NFL has demonstrated a completely biased sense of morality, and despite their press statements, has placed the importance of profit over the importance of morals.
These new policies follow several controversies to hit the NFL. The handling of the domestic abuse case concerning Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is most recent.
A video of Rice knocking his then-fiancé unconscious in an elevator in February went viral, leading to Rice’s dismissal from the team. He was arrested following the incident, but Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti lobbied the league to be lenient on Rice during his punishment.
Bisciotti claimed that he was not aware of the contents of the surveillance tape prior to his defense of Rice. Skeptics disputed the claim, saying that Bisciotti was not only aware of the contents of the tape, but made a conscious effort to cover up the evidence.
A personal-conduct committee, if created, would oversee this type of conduct that was so abysmally handled in this case.
In addition to this announcement, a new policy on drug use was instituted. The policy demands that players regularly be tested for the presence of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), as well as raising the amount of marijuana present in a player before testing positive.
The old drug policy of the NFL sidelined notable Denver Broncos receiver Wes Welker.
Before the new policy was intact, Welker found himself facing a four game suspension for using amphetamines in the offseason. Now, the rule states that the first offense is practically a warning, and the second a possible suspension.
Under this first offense policy, players have a greater chance of using substances to enhance their play with minimal consequences.
With this change, Goodell is once more giving slack to the tight rope these athletes walk on. Goodell himself is no stranger to controversies.
The recent conduct violations in the NFL have led to fans calling for his resignation. Goodell has been excessively lenient towards his players when it comes to domestic abuse.
He has promised that the committee is dedicated to creating a more comprehensive and transparent policy for the players. I
have to think Goodell knew the extent of Rice’s video and still extended just a two game suspension.
It took extreme pushback to lead to a ban.
This isn’t the first time issues have been swept under the rug. There were multiple cases where doctors voiced their negative opinions but the media was never told. Not being required to disclose the medical findings was a part of a multi-million dollar settlement in regards to brain injuries incurred from the sport.
Yet these are the same officials who say that they are taking steps to preserve the conduct and integrity of their players.
One could say that the actions of the players are not the NFL’s responsibility. But until the executives begin to value integrity over profits, they should take a long look at themselves before they take a look at their players.