Deflating league’s bigger issues

Child abuse, Domestic violence, concussions and … deflated footballs?

Man, 2014-15 was a public relations nightmare for the NFL.

Let me start off by saying that I’m a big fan of professional football.

Since I was 10-years-old, I have religiously followed the Miami Dolphins and my hometown Buffalo Bills.

However, this season was different for me.

I’m fed up.

Fed up with the hypocrisies, lies and leniency.

On September 12, 2014, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on child abuse charges.

The 2012 NFL MVP, and (then) future hall-of-famer, didn’t get any jail time or a felony conviction.

The NFL did suspend him for the season with the ability to appeal for reinstatement, but right now it’s unclear when Peterson will return.

But this wasn’t the first time Peterson faced child abuse allegations.

In 2013, the mother of a different four-year-old son, filed a report with Child Protective Services — no charges were filed.

Most sources believe he will return for the 2015-16 season.

Sickening.

The NFL’s next nightmare to step up to the plate: Ray Rice.

When footage of Ray Rice surfaced of him beating his fiancée, I thought, “there’s no way this schmuck will ever play football again.”

The NFL estimates 40 percent of its viewers are female, and it affected a lot of families.

It hits too close to home.

Parents found themselves explaining to their kids how their favorite athlete can’t play because of domestic abuse.

I thought that, surely, an activist group will shut this down. Someone has the power to put this man out of football.

USA Today did an investigation on NFL arrests that dated back from 2000 to the present.

In the data, they found that 55 percent of NFL-related arrests arise from domestic violence for players ages 25 to 29. There have been 83 domestic violence arrests since 2000.

In November, Rice won his appeal to be reinstated into the league and faced a two-game suspension. That’s right, a two-game suspension with video evidence that he knocked out his (now) wife in an elevator.

Disheartening.

Fast-forward to Jan. 15. Rice sued the Ravens, and won $3.529 million in back pay since the organization released him. The former Super Bowl champion can now join any team he pleases.

Again, this is an issue the NFL covered up pretty well for more than a decade.

It just took one bonehead to get caught on camera, and a whole lot of social media, to bring it to the public eye.

The NFL then had the nerve to run a series of commercials addressing domestic abuse.

Where were those advertisements years ago? You slapped a two-game suspension on him and gave him nearly $4 million in the end.

Laughable.

It seems like the league is just covering their tail, case after case.

This past weekend, I watched the PBS documentary “League of Denial” which investigated concussions in the NFL.

By now, most sports fans know of the horrible concussion stories coming from years of football.

In a New York Times article from September, the NFL admitted that one in three players will sustain brain trauma. Notably, in younger athletes.

Right now, a lawsuit has been filed by 5,000 former players that the league hid the dangers of concussions from them.

This won’t go away, thankfully. There are steps in the right direction, but it’s taking a long time to resolve the problem.

With so many issues in the NFL right now, all we can talk about is footballs.

Yes, 11 footballs.

We care too much that the New England Patriots put deflated balls into a game.

Do I believe the they deflated them? Sure, why not.

Bill Bellicheck is known for his shifty practices on the field. How can you give them the benefit of the doubt?

If the balls were regulation weight before the game would the Indianapolis Colts be making a trip to the Super Bowl? No chance.

At halftime the Patriots led the Colts 17-7. It wouldn’t have required a miraculous comeback for the Colts to win that game. Following intermission, they found the balls were regulation.

A lot of people believe the integrity of the game is at risk with this deflated ball fiasco.

But let’s not put the other issues in the backseat.

If all we can think about is “deflate-gate” at the end of this season, when one team holds up the Lombardi Trophy, we have failed.

Miserably.

Author photo
Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.