The game of football to most of us is just that, a game. Of course when you get to the professional level and more specifically the National Football League it is more than a game. It’s a business. I think most of us can agree with that sentiment. That’s where I think the NFL starts veering off course from what is the right and wrong thing to do.
As Arizona Cardinals fans we all know by now the unfortunate incidents that inside linebacker Daryl Washington has been involved with. He’s been suspended for the year for his third failed drug test. This was for testing positive for marijuana use. Technically it is his fourth but the first one basically nothing happens to you and it doesn’t even get reported. So, after three official failed tests, Washington must sit until 2015. Given his many chances, I’m not in complete disagreement with the NFL in suspending him for the year. A rule is a rule and players all know the rules, or at least you hope they do. He also has a domestic violence case, which has been resolved in the courts now but the NFL has yet to deal with. Based on the actions of the NFL against Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice though, I would say Washington doesn’t have to look forward to much further punishment from that ordeal.
Rice was suspended this week by the NFL for just two games for rendering his wife unconscious back in February. Much has been said and documented over the past couple of days about the punishment does not fit the crime. I agree, it doesn’t.
So, how in the world is someone like Washington, who has only hurt himself, suspended for a year but Rice, who hits his wife, is suspended for only two games? I’m sorry, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL do not have their priorities straight. Washington needs to get his life in order but it is an absolute travesty Rice was only suspended for two games.
Is it because Rice is a higher profile player that plays a skill position? Does that play into this? I think it does somewhat and that’s where the NFL has become more a business hurts them and the perception of them. It’s all about the bottom line and as far as the NFL is concerned, losing a player like Ray Rice for an extended amount of time hurts their bottom line and hurts the bottom line of the Ravens.
Rice will now be taken by thousands of fantasy football owners who won’t bat an eyelash. You’ll have some who won’t take him at all merely by principle. You can include me in that group. Isn’t it funny though how that was the first concern of many as I read through comments on Twitter and on the internet the other day?
I don’t believe the NFL will learn it’s lesson on the Rice incident however my hope is someday the NFL realizes what a real-life issue this is. There is absolutely no excuse for domestic violence. None. The NFL needs to take a harsher stance in these instances. A two game suspension sends a message to others that they can too get away with it or mostly away with it. Just don’t go smoking marijuana.