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A tale of two players:

Everyone has been wondering when embattled Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon will meet with the NFL regarding his one-year suspension, and apparently a date has finally been set as Adam Schefter is now reporting that Gordon will meet with league officials in New York City on August 1.
According to multiple reports, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice will be suspended for two games for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy after he was caught on camera in an Atlantic City hotel carrying his unconscious fiancée out of an elevator, seemingly after a physical altercation.

Admittedly, Josh Gordon is not exactly a pillar of the community; he's previously served a four-game suspension for marijuana use, and while waiting for his hearing on the new charge, was arrested for DUI. And Rice is a first-time offender, has allegedly gone through anger management courses, and his then-fiancee (now wife) apologized for being knocked down.

Janay Rice sat next to her husband during the press conference and, curiously, also spoke, apologizing for her "role in that night" though simple assault charges against her were eventually dropped. Footage from the night showed Rice dragging his wife's unconscious body from an elevator.
People on Twitter reacted:

Former players included:

Of course, for every indignant Tweet out there, 5 other people are worried more about the impact on their fantasy team.

But what does this incident, and the "penalty", tell players and fans -- smoking weed, which is not even a performance enhancing drug (unless you're in a competitive eating contest), gets you a year without pay, but beat up a woman and you just get a couple of games off at the beginning of the season, keeping you fresher for that stretch run.

And once again, sports are valued more than women. Enough to make me reconsider my NFL fandom.


1:24 PM PT: Please read this column by Mike Freeman; he gets it.

Originally posted to Just a thought... on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 11:41 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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Comment Preferences

  •  No Surprise that the NFL is tone deaf (8+ / 0-)

    The league where a team can be named "Redskin" is also tolerant of domestic violence.

    They just don't get it.

    If cats could blog, they wouldn't

    by crystal eyes on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 11:46:56 AM PDT

  •  Follow the money (10+ / 0-)

    Marijuana = Cuts into the revenue of NFL beer advertisers.

    Domestic violence = Does not cut into the revenue of NFL beer advertisers.

    "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

    by Utahrd on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 11:47:51 AM PDT

  •  It's a perfect storm of three things that are (7+ / 0-)

    wrong with the U.S.

    1) The drug war.

    2) Misogyny and men's violence against women.

    3) The worship of the male sports hero above all else, which has direct links to (1) and (2).

    I love watching my favorite sports in men's sports, but I also love watching women's sports.  Mostly that's because of how fun the games can be.  But a bonus is that women's sports generally avoid two of the three problems above.  

    i.e., a female athlete may be busted for performance-enhancing drugs, but she's a lot less likely than a male athlete to be found committing domestic violence or violence against women (Hope Solo being a recent apparent exception that proves the rule).  

    Moreover, she's unlikely to have been given the message since age twelve that she can treat others (women or men) as objects because of her remarkable talent.  

    It's not that women are inherently better people than men; it's that the incentives and the messages talented athletes get are different.  I.e., no woman gets recruited to college with the tacit understanding unlimited sexual access to men (or other women) is part of the package of perks.  And while some towns are sports-crazy for their girls' or women's teams (and good for them!), it doesn't seem like we see total impunity for crimes surrounding female sports.

    As for the question, does the NFL value women?  Of course not.  

    When Michael Sam was drafted, Jon Stewart had a long litany of crimes committed by NFL players, many of which were violent crimes against women, all of which were apparently less shocking than a man kissing his boyfriend on television.

    © cai Visit to join the fight against global warming.

    by cai on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 12:08:56 PM PDT

  •  The NFL needs to do some research and move (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cai, oldpotsmuggler, dougymi

    away from the whole 'Reefer Madness' lunacy. Marijuana is not a drug, it's a slang term created over 80 years ago to villianize all the uses of the entire genus of cannabis plants in order to prevent cannabis hemp from competing freely in the marketplace.

    The drugs found in cannabis resins are called cannabinoids and the federal government patented some of these cannabinoid drugs in 2003 because of there neural protective properties. I would think the NFL would be interested considering all the problems they are having with Traumatic Brain Injury and Concussions.  

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 12:21:21 PM PDT

  •  Josh Gordon's mistake (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oldpotsmuggler, RMForbes, Utahrd

    He should have purchased his stash at a dog fight.  Then it's OK in the NFL's eyes.

    •  No, the mistake is the NFL isn't supplying it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dougymi, liberaldregs

      to their players to mitigate the brain damage caused by the violent impacts in the game that are quite common.

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 01:02:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  even just as pain relief it would be beneficial. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Some (even most) of those players are in pain a lot of the time. It comes with the territory in collision sports and marijuana would be a panacea to a lot of them.

        A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

        by dougymi on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 03:04:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's a bit complicated (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If you're complaining that Gordon's punishment is too harsh, it's not.  That was part of the collective bargaining agreement that the players signed off on.  I have no sympathy for Gordon, who is a repeat offender, and no desire to see any sort of leniency in his case.

    The personal-conduct policy is a bit tougher to figure out, but the NFLPA would presumably file a grievance, as unions are supposed to do, if Rice had been given a suspension that was significantly longer than previous punishments for similar offenses.  And Rice would probably win that legal fight.

    The personal conduct policy was intially imposed unilaterally by Roger Goodell and was the last sticking point in the most recent labor dispute.  Arguably, the players' union would be very reluctant to give the commissioner's office the clear power to hand out longer punishments.  The teams wish they could be in charge of their own discipline.  And Goodell is insistent that discipline be handled by the league office and not an independent third party.

  •  The NFL IS FULL (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RMForbes, Mannie

    of shit. When are they going to drop the hammer on Jim Irsay, the owner of the Colts?

  •  Not really correct. (0+ / 0-)

    Let's have an apples to apples comparison here.  Josh Gordon's penalty for his first offense of the NFL drug policy included no suspension and no fine whatsoever.

    But beyond that, let's have some perspective here as to why the league takes drugs-- PEDs and recreational drugs-- especially seriously.  Drugs have a history of spreading through professional sports locker rooms, with players getting hooked on drugs provided by other players.  Anyone remember how cocaine tarnished the image of baseball's stars in the 80s?  The owners have millions invested in these players' contracts, and have a strong interest in preventing the spread of drugs amongst their players for obvious reasons.

    A similar rationale explains why professional sports leagues discipline gambing offenses harshly.  It does not mean that the commissioner believes that gambling is worse than domestic violence, or is a misogynist.

    While Ray Rice beating his wife senseless is rightly viewed as a more serious offense than a single instance of recreational drug use in the law, there is nothing wrong with a professional sports league treating conduct which poses a particular risk to their business differently than conduct which does not.  They are not the justice system.    

    •  The problem is that marijuana is not really a drug (0+ / 0-)

      It's only a slang term created more than 80 years ago to villianize all the uses of the cannabis plant so that cannabis hemp will not be able to compete freely in the marketplace. The actual cannabinoid drugs that are found in cannabis resins have proven medicinal value in treating the types of brain trauma common in the NFL. The NFL should be embracing the use of herb cannabis instead of punishing the players for self medicating.

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Thu Jul 24, 2014 at 02:39:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm done (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You talked about it hitting the NFL pocket book well this was the last straw for me and my family. I don't care what they negotiated, if you get less punishment for beating a woman unconscious than you do for taking a toke I'm done. No more merchandise purchases, no more games on TV, no more tickets to live games. And every time my friends, who know me as a fan, ask me about it - I will tell them what I think of the NFLs priorities.

  •  I'm a Ravens fan (0+ / 0-)

    They should have released Ray Rice the day he knocked out his partner/wife.

    Violence against women by their partners is legion.

    That doesn't mean we have to support it in any way.

    Throw Ray Rice out of the NFL.  

    Hitting a woman, any woman -or man -is a crime.  

    Smoking pot is a lark.

    What are people thinking?

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