This past weekend the San Francisco 49ers lost and fans all over the Bay Area were left dejected. The NFL, on the other hand, rounded up another week of some millions of dollars in profits. This comes a week after the scandal that surfaced with a video of Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice, beating and dragging his wife out of an elevator.
As a tax-exempt, non-profit status organization , the NFL has proven time and time again that they do not fit the criteria. They seem to exist primarily to make a profit and not lose money. Scandals like Ray Rice’s risk the business of football that they are out to run.
There seems to be a pattern in NFL news. Many have attempted to justify the mild response of the NFL by retroactively looking at the precedent they have set with the rulings of Ray McDonald, Ray Lewis and Adrian Peterson. Yet just because a precedent has been set does not mean that a reformation of the NFL’s policy is not necessary.
Fans must recognize that this is not an issue that should stay in the grey area. If they defend the players’ rights to separate their personal lives from their professional lives, they are basically giving players the green light to act violently off the field with only a brief suspension as a deterrent. As a result, the NFL comes off as endorsing these abhorrent actions as something they are willing to overlook for the sake of the game. Young, impressionable fans see these men so easily let off the hook when accused of domestic violence, assault, child abuse, and murder
The fans that give NFL the ratings they need to sustain their $9 billion business have the power to demand accountability and ethical management. As long as networks like CBS are getting the continued viewership they expect and desire, they are happy and so is NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell.
The numbers of sales, viewers, and fans continues to go up, even as a recurring pattern of violence becomes more clear. These numbers act as complicit consent from the very people that the NFL profits from. As long as football fans do not send a direct message stating that they will not stand to support an organization that does not discipline players, then this vicious cycle of evading justice will not be broken. τ