Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Where it's worse to smoke a joint than beat up your wife

Last week Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was suspended for two games without pay for an incident in which he knocked his (now) wife out and dragged her out of an elevator unconscious. He was indicted by an Atlantic County (NJ) grand jury. Mr. Rice was then accepted into a pretrial intervention program in which after he completes a year on probation, the case will be dismissed. 

Justin Blackmon, a receiver for the Jacksonville Jaguars, is currently on an indefinite suspension for his third violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy. The first violation did not result in a suspension. The second violation earned Mr. Blackmon a four-game suspension.

Josh Gordon, a receiver for the woeful Cleveland Browns, was hit with a one-year suspension after he was arrested for driving while intoxicated after already having failed at least one random drug test. Mr. Gordon was stopped for speeding and, after being arrested on suspicion of DWI, blew a .09 on a breath test.

And I guess I would be remiss if I didn't remind y'all that Ben Roethlisberger, the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was suspended for six games back in 2010 after he was arrested, but not charged with sexually assaulting a 20-year-old college student in Georgia.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and his lackeys have been making the sports-yak circuit trying to justify a policy that makes little or no sense. One NFL official, Adolpho Birch, appeared on ESPN Radio Monday morning and made a complete ass out of himself trying to justify Mr. Rice's two-game suspension.

What does it say about the NFL - and our society - that the penalty for smoking marijuana is more severe than the penalty for knocking your girlfriend unconscious? The fact that so many folks in authority still seem to buy into the propaganda film Reefer Madness so many years after it was made (and discredited) is one of those things that makes no sense.

And how can we even compare Mr. Gordon's misstep with what Mr. Rice did to his then-girlfriend in that elevator? 

If the point in the NFL's player conduct policy is to protect the corporate image of the league, why is Mr. Goodell more concerned about players smoking marijuana and driving while intoxicated? Shouldn't domestic assault be an area of more serious concern? It never ceases to amaze me how our puritanical views on pleasure and recreation lead us to such absurd results.

Now if you think that Mr. Blackmon and Mr. Gordon received the right punishment for their actions - I will respect that opinion. But, if their suspensions were justified, then Mr. Rice should be joining them on the outside looking in for the 2014 season.

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