While NFL fans enjoy the early excitement of their favorite players, several teams have enjoyed surprising starts like the Buffalo Bills 2-0 the Carolina Panthers who sit atop the NFC South 2-0 and the New Orleans Saints in the basement with a 0-2 record. The best division in football the NFC West has the Arizona Cardinals 2-0 with Seattle, San Francisco and St. Louis knotted up at 1-1.
While the excitement of the 2014 season on the field should be the headliner on TV, internet and print, the off field issues have taken the rare sounder of ‘Breaking News’ heard over and over. The NFL brand is currently taking on several major bumps and bruises or more like incisions leaving the shield dented also tarnished and in need of great repair.
The ugly off field issues which are staggering and really hard to comprehend have become alarming, they range from domestic violence, alcohol related crimes, drugs, guns and even arrests at international airports. More than 700 NFL players have been arrested, charged or indicted since the 2000 season.
The data within the USA Today database shows since January 24, 2000 – 730 separate arrests, indictments or charges recorded against NFL players, 94 domestic violence incidents listed among the data, with assaults on women among the most common offences committed by NFL players.
Alcohol-related incidents top the list with 252, while 101 players have been caught up in drug offences. Both assault and battery rank alongside domestic violence with 94 arrests, charges and indictments, while gun offences figure 51 times among the crimes, also arrest at International airports.
It seemed like every 10 minutes it was something new on several issues:
- RB Ray Rice domestic violence case: Casino elevator video surfaced by TMZ and Baltimore Ravens terminate Rice’s contract; NFL suspends Rice indefinitely; Casino security says he mailed tape to NFL Executive; Janay Rice Defends her husbands.
- DE Ray McDonald domestic violence case: CEO Jed York and 49ers will wait for the due process to take its course.
- NFL Commissioner tells CBS News when asked about the Ray Rice video “we were never granted that opportunity”; NFL would not rule out the return of Rice, but he must prove “he is addressing the issue”
- Ravens Ownership: “We were wrong in not pursuing Ray Rice investigation more vigorously”.
- NFL Commissioner “Ray Rice was ambiguous about what happened in the elevator when he met with him”.
- Law enforcement official told AP he sent video of Ray Rice punching then fiancée to NFL in April to NFL executive.
- NFL issues statement “not aware of anyone who saw the video before it was made public”
- NFL hires former FBI Director to conduct independent investigation of Rice case with help from two NFL owners Steelers Rooney II and Giants Mara
- Carolina Panthers DE Greg Hardy appealing his domestic violence conviction was cleared to play but Owner Jerry Richardson quickly reversed his decision and deactivated Hardy prior to game time.
- RB Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings indicted for reckless or negligent injury to a child.
- Vikings GM Rick Spellman said the organization is gathering information regarding the legal situation of Adrian Peterson spanking his 4 year old son with a switch from a tree.
- Vikings Adrian Peterson turned himself in to authorities in Montgomery, TX booked and released.
- NFL creates VP of Social Responsibility Role to deal with domestic violence
- Vikings Peterson accused in separate incident of abusing another son who was 4 years.
- WR Quincy Enunwa a practice squad member of the New York Jets is under investigation by NFL for domestic violence.
- NFL hires former White House official Cynthia Hogan as a Senior VP of Public Policy and Government Affairs, will work out of the Washington DC Office.
- Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton made the following statement “Vikings should ban Adrian Peterson until issues are resolved”.
- WR Josh Gordon currently serving a year ban from the NFL for Marijuana use pleads guilty to DWI stemming from July incident in North Carolina.
- NFLPA appeals indefinite suspension of Rice claiming he was punished twice for the same issue and are seeking a neutral arbitrator.
- Nike pulls all Peterson related sales items off the shelves in Minnesota.
- Several NFL sponsors weighing in on current issues. Anheuser Busch makes public statement of concerns and disappointment with the NFL. AB owned by Inbev gives NFL over a billion as a sponsor and millions in advertisement and marking at all 32 stadiums, commercial etc.
- Vikings owner places Adrian Peterson on ‘Exempt List’ forcing Peterson to stay away from Vikings facility until legal issues are resolved.
- Nike Suspends contract of Vikings RB Adrian Peterson.
- Several NFL players fire back on tweeter at Inbev (AB) on the poison called alcohol that they manufacture that hurt minors, maybe the main cause of death, DWI, domestic violence etc.
- Colts owner Jim Irsay suspended for 6 games and fined 500K for arrest.
- Cowboys owner Jerry Jones accused of Sexual Assault and law suit was filed.
I couldn’t even finish this blog last night when yet another NFL player was arrested –
- Cardinals RB Jonathan Dwyer was arrested on 2 counts of suspicion of aggravated assault. The Arizona Cardinals deactivated Dwyer for the incident against a young lady (27) and an 18 month old child. Dwyer is currently free on bond and wears an electronic monitoring device.
While it is hard to remember the last time something good was reported about the NFL, it’s only going to get worse as the judicial system will take several months, before it gets better. NFL fans look forward to game day along with the sponsors that support the greatest game on the planet and I hope this nightmare is almost over. Rebuilding the NFL shield won’t be easy, but it will shine bright again.