The Biggest Misconception About the NFL: It has a Domestic Violence Problem

I was asked the other day whether or not chronic head trauma is related to the post-football struggles of former NFL players after receiving the story that Former QB Mark Rypien was charged with Domestic Violence.

There is no doubt about it. The NFL has been dealing with lawsuits for years because of CTE as well as crime rates among their players. Regardless what people say about Roger Goodell, he has done an admiral job keeping that mess under lock and key, tackling it head on. The crime rate has dropped substantially since Goodell took over for Tagliabue after it peaked in 2006. Despite the lawsuits, the NFL is still absolutely booming.

During the conversation, we began to talk about the players getting in trouble for domestic violence in the NFL sphere. The person I was talking to said that brain trauma is no excuse for being a dick at home and beating your family.

You have no argument from me there. However, it was also mentioned that these players primarily get a slap on the wrist for their crimes and they have no treatment. Both of those statements are misleading and inaccurate. Every team is required to do a seminar on DV and substance abuse during training camp. They also have access to sports psychiatrists to help them cope with issues. If they elect not to use it, oh well.

In the midst of the debate, I began looking up DV cases of other sports leagues as a point of comparison. The list I found was published in September 2018 and included incidents dating back to 2014, which is when this became a hot topic.

In 2014, the video was released of Ray Rice punching a woman in an elevator to the point of knocking her out cold. It was disgusting to say the least.

Now, I have also took the liberty of adding Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill to the list of players as this article was published prior to their cases.

Domestic Violence Cases by League since 2014

  • NFL – 25
  • NBA – 7
  • MLB – 8

On the surface, that makes those numbers look completely lopsided that the NFL does in fact have a DV problem. However, the NFL is a substantially bigger league with more players. So looking at this from a percentage base since 2014…

  • NFL – 6,784 Athletes – .004% DV Rate
  • NBA – 1,800 Athletes – .004% DV Rate
  • MLB – 3,000 Athletes – .003% DV Rate

In the NFL, 16 were suspended and 18 no longer play. That gives them a suspension rate of 64%. However, 72% are never playing another down.

In the NBA, three were suspended while one never played again. A suspension rate of 43% and 14% don’t play again.

In the MLB, all eight were suspended and three are no longer playing giving them a 100% suspension rate and 38% not playing.

The reality is that the NFL has dealt with disgusting video of Ray Rice and a handful of other high profile names that were involved in cases including Greg Hardy, Johnny Manziel, Adrian Peterson and the aforementioned Hill and Hunt.

The NBA’s biggest name was Darren Collison while the MLB’s was Aroldis Chapman. Like it or not, the narrative has been spun to say this is major problem for the NFL due to high profile cases when the numbers say it isn’t an epidemic.

Of course, this shouldn’t be happening at all. But, we don’t live in a utopian society. Nothing or no one can 100% stop this from ever happening. But if 99.6% of the players aren’t committing DV, then that isn’t a bad place to be and it is right on par with other leagues.

To say they are not held accountable is also factually wrong considering nearly 3 for every 4 never play again. The ones that do have served lengthy suspensions including Peterson who was sidelines for the back half of the season.

 

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