NFL News: A Crisis Of Leadership For The Shield


Most, if not all of you, view domestic violence as unacceptable.

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Prior to Sunday night, I lacked the understanding of such an unnecessary attack. An act I saw only in photos after the fact, became a lesson in true brutality. For Ray Rice, his lesson has been made possible by his team and league. But only because they were left with no other option.

The Seattle Seahawks have seen their share of negative publicity over the years. Throughout the NFL, teams have dealt with public relation nightmares. The Baltimore Ravens are no different. What is unique is how this player, this team and this league reacted. Consider the following:

The player: Ray Rice had several opportunities to explain the events of that evening. Not only to his employer but to the league itself. Instead of doing this, he took advantage of the trust extended by the Ravens and the NFL. This in turn took any chance of forgiveness off the table. His incredible arrogance allowed him to believe he wouldn’t get caught.

The team: The Baltimore Ravens did their best to defend Ray Rice. In doing so they ignored an issue they clearly felt meant less the Rice’s stats. They confirmed the beliefs of so many, that the performance on the field is most important. If some groups or individuals are disrespected along the way, so be it. Even when they had a chance to explain, the team blew it. For the press conference, head coach John Harbaugh had to face the media. Of course that was without front office support. That move proved this franchise still doesn’t get it.

The league: The NFL followed every step written on how to handle violence towards women. Unfortunately it was the same “how to” book used in the Jameis Winston investigation.

Roger Goodell has spent the summer backpedaling, trying to make something look good. Yes, it was a nice gesture instituting harsher punishment for domestic violence offenders. But when the Rice video was released, Goodell ignored his own new policy of a six-game suspension. Instead, the now released Raven is out indefinitely. This change revealed a commissioner who is indecisive about how to move forward. It is also clear domestic violence is an arena he wants out of. For Goodell and the league, this crisis is the most significant The Shield has ever faced.

Finally, I do not believe the NFL. I can’t imagine how, with all its power, they couldn’t get a copy of the Rice video. Forget the fact NFL investigators are highly paid, former FBI agents (they can get a video if they want a video). Armed with tickets for a NFL game of their choice, a scout holding the rank of Tenderfoot could get that copy. Incredible.

Fans of the Seattle Seahawks love their team. Players are embraced by the city, as well as across the country. This is a fact. It is also a fact these same fans would not tolerate such reprehensible behavior. I’m confident Paul Allen, John Schneider and coach Carroll would quickly handle such a situation. Unfortunately, as we now know, not all organizations feel the same. With a topic as serious as domestic violence, unity among teams is paramount.

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, call 1-800-799-7233. Or visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline web site at