Dear Mr. Roger Goodell,
I have a few very serious questions to ask you. You levied a suspension on Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens of 2 games without pay and an extra $58,000. This means Rice will miss the first two games of the 2014 season and lose around $700,000 of total pay. He didn’t take illegal drugs. He didn’t drive intoxicated. Ray Rice physically assaulted his fiancé. There is video evidence of him dragging her unconscious body from an elevator after the altercation. There is no question this happened and he even admitted as much. Where has your iron fist gone? Where are your morals? Since when is laying hands on a woman less significant and less punishable than alleged allegations, things that happened during a players college career, drug abuse, or driving under the influence? Think about that while I refresh your memory about a few past suspensions you handed out, and in some cases didn’t.
In 2010, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was accused by a woman in Georgia of sexual assault. He was questioned over and over again by the police and members of the GBI. Ultimately they felt there was not enough evidence to charge him with the accused crime. This means he was NOT guilty of a crime as his actions were not deemed punishable by law. However, you decided it was punishable under the leagues personal-conduct policy, originally suspending him for six games before reducing it to four.
In 2011, Terrelle Pryor was trying to enter the league earlier than he had planned due to an NCAA suspension for receiving free tattoos, driving a number of vehicles supplied to him and other players and making money for signing autographs. He entered the NFL Supplemental Draft and was selected in the third round by the Oakland Raiders. After being selected, you suspended him for five games. Five games for these allegations from his time in college at Ohio State.
In 2008, James Harrison was arrested for criminal mischief and simple assault against his girlfriend. He was NOT disciplined for these charges by the NFL and had his charges dropped in court when he completed an anger management class. I believe the chargers against him being dropped and the NFL taking no action against him were both wrong. He was however fined, in total, over $100,000 and suspended one game for helmet to helmet hits. In today’s day and age with what we know about concussions and head injuries I agree helmet to helmet hits are wrong and should be punished accordingly, but more so than assault, and more specifically assault against a woman?
All the way back in 2006, Odell Thurman of the Cincinnati Bengals was suspended for 4 games for missing a drug test. At the time he didn’t fail it, he just didn’t show up to it. An assumption can be made he missed it because he would have failed it but that is nothing more than an assumption. While under suspension for the missed test, he was suspended for two full seasons for driving under the influence. I have absolutely no problem with the suspension for the DUI. I feel suspensions for incidents such as this should be very strict. The problem however lies with your consistency in suspensions. Is missing a drug test with a DUI on top of it worse than striking a woman? That can be debated for days, but I don’t think it is.
This past offseason, Indianapolis Colts Owner Jim Irsay was caught driving intoxicated. He admitted to taking many medications but refused to take a blood test. In the vehicle he was reported to have over $29,000 in cash and other prescription drugs. He has also been linked to a woman, whom he gave a $139,000 townhouse, who was a known drug addict whom died of an alleged drug overdose shortly after his arrest. NFL team owners are essentially your bosses. Is that why you haven’t taken action against him? Why are you sending the message that it’s okay for an NFL owner to be associated with such people and incidents but not players?
What is the message you are trying to send to children who idolize these men and consider many of them to be their hero’s? From the looks of it you are telling them that striking a woman is wrong (anywhere from no suspension up to 2 games for first offenders) but smoking marijuana or taking any performance enhancing drugs is much worse (anywhere from 2 games to a 4 game suspension for first offenders). Since you took over as Commissioner of the NFL there have been 103 suspensions for substance abuse. Why have all of these been handled quickly and efficiently with mostly 4 game suspensions but, in the case of James Harrison, Ray Rice and others, these incidents have been handled with a slap on the wrist? The message you are sending to fans of the fans of the NFL, especially children, is just downright laughable.
Tell me if I’m wrong but I think I have it all figured out. It is worse to be have someone accuse you of a crime, take or use an NFL banned substance, drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or accidently shoot yourself in the leg (Plaxico Burress) than it is to strike a woman. That’s preposterous.
You are supposed to be setting an example. You, as well as the owners, coaches and players are role models for a countless number of people from all corners of the globe. Every Sunday during the NFL season I put on my teams jersey with pride. I wear it because I want to represent my favorite team as well as my favorite league. I wear it because I know there are more “good” people in the league, doing good in the community, than there are those who are doing wrong off the field. Every time I put on my jersey I also show my support to you because you are in charge of the greatest league in the world. I don’t agree with the message you are sending. It just doesn’t seem right to support you or your league now.
I do have one more question for you Mr. Commissioner. What happened to your leagues integrity?
I’ll understand if you need to grab a dictionary. You have to know what integrity means before you can answer.
Dear Mr. Roger Goodell,