The NFL’s New Domestic Violence Policy and the Law of Unintended Consequences


USA Today:

NFL toughens its stance on domestic violence

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell admits he was wrong on the Ray Rice decision, and Goodell took an important step Thursday towards showing the league is serious about cracking down on domestic violence as well as sexual assault.

In a lengthy letter sent to every NFL owner on Thursday, Goodell announced enhanced policies and discipline under the personal conduct policy that will result in a six-game suspension for a first offense related to domestic violence or sexual assault and an indefinite ban for a second offense committed by any NFL personnel.

Goodell drew major criticism since the announcement last month that Rice, the Baltimore Ravens running back, would be suspended just two games for striking his then-fiancee at a New Jersey casino and being caught on camera dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator.

“We allowed our standards to fall below where they should be and lost an important opportunity to emphasize our strong stance on a critical issue and the effective programs we have in place,” Goodell wrote in the letter to owners.

“My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will.”

Goodell’s letter also says the league’s response to domestic violence or sexual assault “will include new elements of evaluation, treatment and family support, as well as enhanced discipline. We will address these issues fairly and thoughtfully, respecting the rights of all involved and giving proper deference to law enforcement and the courts.”

Call me cynical, but I suspect that Goodell’s decision had more to do with public relations than it did with any genuine concern with domestic violence and sexual assault.

I don’t know of anyone who thinks domestic violence and sexual assault are okay. I want to make clear that I am not defending either one. But being against domestic violence does not make this new policy a good idea.

For example, wouldn’t a lifetime ban punish the wives and children of NFL personnel too? Knowing that your husband and the father of your kids will have his earning potential destroyed puts those women between a rock and a hard place.

I have other concerns as well, mostly having to do with proof and due process. Can a player still be suspended if no charges are filed? What if a player is banned for life and then acquitted by a jury? What about the effect of domestic violence diversion programs?

Last but not least, are domestic violence and sexual assault really a problem in the NFL, or is this just a knee-jerk reaction to a single incident?

The problem with reactive policies and laws is they end up invoking the Law of Unintended Consequences.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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75 Responses to The NFL’s New Domestic Violence Policy and the Law of Unintended Consequences

  1. The Klown says:

    Oh, goody – President Selfie is gonna give a statement on ISIS!

    I hope it didn’t interrupt his golf game

  2. The Klown says:
  3. Somebody says:

    I think this is a knee jerk reaction and you’re correct there are too many ambiguities. Forget about wives for a minutes, what about a scorned gf a player just broke up with? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

    I certainly don’t condone domestic violence or rape, but isn’t that what our court system is for? Is the NFL only going to take action upon a conviction or are we talking accusation because there is a world of difference between the two. In the case of Ray Rice the charges were dropped when he agreed to go through counseling, I believe.

    I think if the NFL was truly concerned about potential violence coming from their players they’d take a more proactive approach like intervention or anger management or something. This to me looks like a face saving measure. They don’t really care about the lives of the players or their families…….there’s more bodies on the bench.

  4. The Klown says:
  5. DeniseVB says:

    Good grief, why can’t I find any news on why the Rams don’t want to cut Michael Sam-I-Am ? So far, I’ve learned it would be Politically Incorrect ? If he’s good, he shouldn’t be cut, if he’s bad, WTF?

    • The Klown says:

      Certain players are guaranteed to make the final cut. He’s one of them.

      They are probably hoping he’ll get hurt so they don’t have to not cut him.

      • DeniseVB says:

        Last I heard, they wanted to put him on their “practice” team, which would make him something like a free agent. So confused. Is he that good, or what? Hate that teh ghey thing would make him so desirable to other teams?

        Sidebar: My husband had his Fantasy Football draft last weekend, out of dozens of picks, nobody picked Sam. As a former Liberal, are my DH’s league homophobes ? Should I divorce him? Yeah, 45 years is enough ;0

    • ginainmo says:

      Disclaimer: I am a Mizzou fan and Missouri resident, shuttup about my bias.;)

      Michael Sam was last season’s SEC Defensive Player of the Year for a REASON. Yes, he is good. He is a bit undersized for his position, but he is a player.

      In limited pre-season minutes with the Rams, he has recorded three QB sacks (two against Twinkle Toes aka Johnny Football) and has acquitted himself well.

      Will he make the team? I don’t know — the Rams are deep at his position. I do think he has done well enough in the pre-season to land a roster spot on someone’s team.

      • The Klown says:

        Welcome to TCH – the first drink is on the house.

        I don’t care which way Michael Sam’s (or any other athlete’s) door swings. If he can play at that level then he belongs there. If he can’t then he does not deserve any special treatment.

  6. The Klown says:


    “Effective immediately, ISIS and Russia are both on double secret probation.”

  7. Propertius says:

    striking his then-fiancee at a New Jersey casino and being caught on camera dragging her unconscious body out of an elevator.

    This is why we have courts and prisons. If he were in prison, suspending him for a couple of games wouldn’t be an issue.

  8. mothy67 says:

    I think the same protocol should be followed with players as with anyone else. I think domestic violence is a serious issue and should be addressed via the courts. Not on Twitter in Congress or NOt. If he committed a crime he should be punished by the law.

    Reminds my of how those useless fucks were holding hearings about steroid use amidst the mortgage crisis. Do your job I did not elect you to police MOB.

    I am not trivializing domestic abuse but be real. The man has a job he has a morality clause. Let him be convicted and let the chips fall where they may. We do not know the full story here anymore than we do in Ferguson. Enraged me that people seem to care more about this than babies heads on spikes in Iraq.

  9. mothy67 says:

    Fuckity fuck fuck fuck
    Worthless less than one year old piece of shit desktop keeps freaking out and kindle will not take off spell check. I shut it off and back it goes.
    Do your job I did not elect you to police MOB. MLB not mob.
    Not on Twitter in Congress or NOt NFL NFL NFL not Not.

  10. The Klown says:
  11. HELENK3 says:

    weird thought
    did backtrack color his hair during the election , or is he coloring it now to look like he is working and worrying about the country?

    • Somebody says:

      I hope nobody in the area planned on golfing; or if they do I hope they were lucky enough to book a tee time at a different course.

  12. HELENK3 says:

    my ideas of punishment for domestic violence would get someone jailed.
    Lorina Bobbitt was my heroine
    the burning bed was my favorite movie
    the meatloaf seasoned with ground glass and shaved bamboo shoots seems like a good dinner

  13. Kathy says:

    OMG–the dithering is maddening. They have had months and are still pondering what to do…we could all be dead by the time he decides. And the pentagon always has multiple plans for every imaginable situation, at least they used to.

  14. WMCB says:

    Extra-judicial “courts” are a bad idea under any circumstances. They are subject to politics, power games, and abuse.

    DV is a crime. Prosecute it. Period.

    • votermom says:

      They are trying to do something like this in California for guys accused of rape on campuses. Stupid stupid “presumed guilty” idea.
      Rape should be reported to the actual cops, not to campus cops.

      • mothy67 says:

        Amen. Sing it loud. I went to big colleges back in the eighties and rape was never anything that I heard about. Maybe it did happen I do not know but even at Temple(which has it’s own police force and back then it was a rough place) I never heard of anyone being raped on campus. I do not want to dismiss rape but in some ways it feels like I am living in a
        Law & Order SVU rerun. Next summer I have a chance to send the world’s most annoying child to summer camp for nothing. High end way beyond my means but it is out of state and her daddy says will be taken advantage of. What?

      • Constance says:

        I absolutely agree and rape victims should get themselves to a hospital for evidence collection and go to the real police to report. Do not go to the University.

  15. mothy67 says:

    School librarian told me she didn’t think Harry Potter was age appropriate for an eight year old. Is screw you an appropriate response? Kid still, a year later loves Harry Potter. Sorry, yeah people die in the books but sometimes I take her to this place where there is a guy wearing a very uncomfortable looking head piece and he appears to be somewhat in agony hanging on a cross with a gaping hole in his side reeking of vinegar.
    When it comes to the brat I think things through. Hermione is her idol. Color me bad for not thinking Arianna Grande or Beyoncé would be a better choice for her to emulate.
    And how dare you.
    Third grade they are allowed to check out any book in the school library. She had a very nice collection of all the books but Chamber of Secrets is her favorite and my demonically possessed dog ate it. So she wanted to check it out.
    Maybe I should be grateful that she expressed concern but do not tell me what I should and should not let her read.

    The fucks expressed dismay that she will not be cheer leading. I think if a kid wants to root other people on knock yourself out. Brat has therapy on Mondays(nothing wrong with her just a chance for her in her unique situation to vent to someone without worrying) Tuesdays karate, Wednesday nothing(she usually goes swimming), Thursday tap, jazz, ballet and gymnastics, Friday karate, Saturday acting classes and Sunday off. Cheerleading practice is everyday after school. I got some sort of lecture about community spirit and gestalt theory that I paid no attention what so ever. I never force her to do anything but I never let her quit. She stops a three month program she finishes. Then she does not go back if she chooses not to.
    Call me a self centered whatever but I cry foul on being told I am to understand that the greater community is more important than any one child. I think that was what the guy was saying I am not sure as I was blinded by rage. Sum whole of its parts blah blah blah. pup should be a cheerleader
    It was weird. Why do they care if she elects not to have pom poms.

    By the way I cannot praise Karate enough. Maybe she just has a good teacher but it is amazing. So much stuff has to run around in this little girl’s head and it torture’s me that I do not know how to give her a pressure valve. Sometimes she tries to be happy and it breaks my heart. Why do other kids get a mom and dad and she gets me and her great grandparents. I refuse to let her be a victim and thus far the docs say she mature beyond her years but there was always something in her that I could not fix. Karate has.

    • votermom says:

      We’re kinda opposite then – I actually have forced my kids to try activities but I have allowed them to quit. They started out so shy that I had to.
      I forced my younger one to try karate when she was around your girl’s age. Now she’s 13 and is going to get her blackbelt next week and she has a pile of medals and trophies from it. Karate is definitely awesome.

      • mothy67 says:

        I have not forced her to do anything. She comes to me with ideas I go online weigh the benefits and the cost. I always tell her when I pay for the semester she is finishing the three months. Up to her at that point if she wants to continue. Karate came from a show called Kick in it on I think Disney. I looked into and was blown away. Her first dance class I pulled her out of because it was militant. Somehow affiliated with Dance Mom’s. I want her to express and love her physicality. This place was twisted. Found another school. Strict but not crazy.Five years she has been at it and I see her confidence blossoming. If her calling was to become a dancer I could tolerate the m a r t e n e t(yes spell fucking check martinet is a word) style but not for a three year old.
        I do not think I am attempting to live my life through a child(I see a ton of that in acting class- some of those mothers are fucking bat shit crazy)
        I want to give my baby girl the gift of my mistakes. I lived it so please let me shield you.
        I was born one sick puppy.Very sick kid adults were afraid of. My heart is pig and Teflon. I breathed through a hole in my throat. Then I was dirt poor. I went to 8 schools before I graduated Never had a peer group. Add to that being gay and hardcore Catholic.
        Somehow I turned out to be a handsome young man by collage. Thank god I am a neurotic fallen alter boy because my fiber would not permit me to act out sexually. I did do a lot of stupid drugs with a lot of people who were of better pedigree. I squeezed so much of myself to go to silly art openings.
        I got to go to a butt load of pretty people parties.
        A very empty existence. I am poorer now than I have been as an adult but richer all the same.
        Everyone I knew for half my life was all about art. Celebrating a picture by Rothko(gag) hanging on a wall at the Whitney
        Contrast that to participating in a child’s life. Nothing is more artistic to me. I may be looking at the world from a distorted perspective but my urchin has Bern given her own drama and my job is to make sure she knows herself.

        Brat came to me tonight because she wants to learn archery. Only sport I was never not a complete ass in. So yeah I will be looking up bow & arrow schools.

  16. The Klown says:
  17. votermom says:

  18. The Klown says:

    I just saw an ad that asked “Do you have feminine discomfort ‘down there’?”

    Where the hell else would you have it?

  19. DandyTIger says:

  20. DandyTIger says:

    • Somebody says:

      Haha, I’d vote for you!

      • Somebody says:

        You could not possibly be more clueless than our current CIC and I actually agree with many of your viewpoints so I’m all in…….Dandy for POTUS!!!

    • HELENK3 says:

      just heard the best description of backtrack’s foreign policy.
      a ” Barney Fife” run foreign policy

      if you could come up with a ” capt crunch” foreign policy, you would already be ahead of the game

  21. Somebody says:

    Well I’ve had a craptastic day, which is just ending at 9:30pm. It’s like I’ve been wearing a kick me, or more apropos, a fuck with me or shit on me sign all day today. One thing after another…….grrrrrrr! Not my hubby he’s been wearing the same sign today, just a smaller one or I’m an easier target or something.

    I’d have a few stiff drinks but this late it would be a complete waste of a good buzz.

  22. DandyTIger says:

    Always worth a reminder:

  23. gram cracker says:

    As usual I’m late to the conversation but here is how one battered wife dealt with her abusive husband.
    My husband told me a story about a man he supposedly knew that would come home drunk, screw his wife, beat up on her and then pass out in a drunken stupor. Finally she decided she wasn’t going to put up with his abusive behavior anymore. Next time he passed out naked on the bed she tied his arms and legs spread eagle to the bedposts. She then cut the cord on an electric lamp, plugged it in and proceeded to apply electric shock therapy to his nuts.

  24. DandyTIger says:

  25. Kathy says:

    I’m listening….how to end crappy days? Go to bed early. Kinda half serious–my daughter does this. She says that when everything is falling apart, she goes to bed no matter what time it is.

  26. gram cracker says:

    Your comment reminded me of driving through Wyoming or Montana and seeing billboards advertising the Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival – Have a Ball. We laughed till we almost peed our pants. How do parents answer their kids’ questions about the testicle festival?
    Rock Creek Lodge uses only USDA approved bull testicles, also known as Rocky Mountain Oysters. “I skin them when they’re just thawing because the membrane peels like an orange,” he once told a reporter. He then marinates them in beer, breads them four times, and deep fries them. The end result looks like a big, flat cookie or breaded tenderloin. Actually, they’re billed as “Montana Tendergroin.”

  27. DandyTIger says:

    I’ll just leave this here:

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