Ameer Forte's 2Fer Essay

Football Allows Domestic Violence by Ameer Forte

American football players are average people, who live average lives and have average negative tendencies. Crime is crime no matter who commits it, right? Why then, does it seem like the average football player can manage to get away with illegal acts that the average person can’t get away with? In fact, there are players in the NFL currently who have committed domestic violence crimes. Creating a national debate whether or not they have been under punished for their actions and raising much controversy around decisions made by league commissioner Roger Goodell. The truth is, American football allows its athletes to get away with domestic violence for the benefit of the league's profit.

Ray McDonald, a defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, was arrested on Sunday, August 31st on felony domestic violence charges involving his fiancee. This happened just a week after a new rule had been passed by the league, this rule enforced that a player has to carry himself in a certain way when representing his organization, and if he did not the league has the ability to fine him, suspend him without pay or indefinitely suspend him from the NFL. The Sacramento Bee reports Police arrived at McDonald’s house at approximately 2:00 am where McDonald seemed to have some sort of altercation with his fiancee, they found his fiancee bruised and beat and he was taken into custody. McDonald posted $25,000 bail and was released from Santa Clara county jail later that day. Roger Goodell released a statement later that week saying that there would be stronger punishment for players like McDonald, and that there would now be an automatic six game suspension for players with a domestic violence charge. Except, McDonald has not been suspended. In fact, the NFL reports, McDonald is being very involved in the San Francisco 49ers games despite his alleged crimes. Roger Goodell explained his case though, saying, as long as McDonald isn't charged with actual evidence he will be continued to be allowed to play. Roger Goodell is letting McDonald play because when he is on the field the San Francisco 49ers have a better chance of winning, and more winning means more fans, and more fans means more income for the league’s profit.

Would an average working man who beat his wife be allowed to keep his job? Or would he just be temporarily suspended for his actions? According to Colorado criminal law for example,  “A conviction for a criminal offense related to domestic violence may result in loss of the defendant’s job.” Which means no leisure, no suspensions, no protection as NFL players would get. There is no special treatment for the average worker. For example, in 2006 a man named Rafael Dangond was found reportedly beating his wife from the time they attended a wedding after party to the time they made it home that evening. She was found by her father, bloodied and bruised, the next day. Dangond was ultimately sentenced to 5 years in prison. Dangond was unable to escape the punishment he earned, Whereas an NFL player appears to be able to get away will full scale domestic violence without the correct punishment because of the fact that they bring in revenue for profit.

Ray Rice, a running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was arrested on February 15 along with his fiancee on simple assault charges. A video released to the public of Rice dragging his fiance across an elevator floor. Rice’s attorney assured it was just a minor altercation between the two, and when Roger Goodell was asked if the league was aware of the incident and whether there will be discipline, he stated, "The answer to that is yes. And I don't know on the second part. We will let the facts dictate that." On July 24th the NFL decided to suspend Ray Rice for just two games, even after his charges were upped to aggravated assault weeks before. The league made the conscious decision to only suspend Ray Rice for two games while knowing he had been arrested and convicted of domestic violence, the rule that they enforced was that as long as Rice was not charged by his fiance he would still be able to represent the league, allowing Rice to continue to play as soon as his short suspension is over and once again showing the NFL give soft punishment to one of it’s athletes who have committed domestic violence.

On September 8th a new video surfaced showing Rice punching his fiance in the face and knocking her unconscious. Here is where the fishy activity gets noticed. When that video came out Roger Goodell claimed "We had not seen any videotape of what occurred in the elevator, We assumed that there was a video, we asked for video, we asked for anything that was pertinent, but we were never granted that opportunity." If Goodell had not seen the video, what was he basing his punishment for Rice’s actions off? And why would he had just seen the footage when the police had had it since Rice’s first arrest way back in February? Now according to the FBI, who decided to investigate this case, Goodell had seen the full footage of the tape and just under punished Rice. Rice is another example of a player who is very notable in fan popularity and likely many fans would come to see rice play. For this reason the league has done everything in their power, within legal terms, to keep him on the field. The NFL is a selfish society, in which is always looking for a way to profit themselves, and the best way for them to make profit is through the fans themselves. So if a particular player is who the fans want to see the commissioner wants that player out there.

Ray Rice and Ray McDonald both seem to be escaping true punishment from the league along with jail time, something that their average counterpart Rafael Dangond was unable to escape. If the parents of the children who watch football stopped to think about it, they would realize that domestic violence crimes committed by football players does not just involve the league and athletes themselves, but, their children as well could be affected by seeing what these football players are doing and getting away with and thinking it's okay.American football players are no different from regular people, and yet, the NFL allows them to get away with domestic violence because the NFL wants to use those players to make a profit.


Hanzus, Dan. "Ray McDonald Arrested on Domestic Violence Charges." Dan Hanzus, 31 Aug. 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Barrows, Matt. "49ers’ Ray McDonald Arrested on Suspicion of Felony Domestic Abuse - The Sacramento Bee." The Sacramento Bee. Matt Barrows, 1 Sept. 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Black, Clifton. "Employment Penalties of Domestic Violence." Colorado Criminal Law Guide. Clifton Black. Web. 22 Sept. 2014. <>.

Bien, Louis. "A Complete Timeline of the Ray Rice Assault Case." Louis Bien, 15 Sept. 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Florio, Mike. "NFL Hires Independent Investigator in Ray Rice case."ProFootballTalk. Mike Florio, 10 Sept. 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Crouch, Ian. "The N.F.L.'s New Domestic-Violence Rules." The New Yorker. IAN CROUCH, 28 Aug. 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

"Lissette Ochoa Domestic Violence Case." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Sept. 2014. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.

Comments (9)

Bella Mezzaroba (Student 2016)
Bella Mezzaroba

I think you did a good job of addressing the subject while not overstepping your boundaries. Domestic abuse is a touchy subject and I think you discussed it with class. If someone wanted to argue for the other side of the debate, they could say that these men are simply being exploited because they're famous and it's such a "scandal." They may say that things like this happen everyday and no one gets caught. However, that'd be an easy argument to counter attack. Overall, good job!

Jesse Shuter (Student 2016)
Jesse Shuter

I agree with this paper, and you did a great job of using persuasive language to make the scenarios seem very unfair. A counter argument is that the reason that the NFL players get off so easy is because they can pay bail and other fines easier than the average person. This is simply because of their job not because of unfair treatment. Another counter argument is that the average man does not keep their job once they return to work because they are not as good at it. If there were an incredible salesman that is amazing at his job just like Ray McDonald is at football than he would get his job back. In addition, later Ray Rice was cut from his team therefore not keeping his job, so depending on the time this was written this paper does not apply.

Desmond O'Donovan (Student 2016)
Desmond O'Donovan

You show what these players did, and the reasons given for why they weren't penalized as heavily as they should have been. You explain the issue clearly. I know it's difficult to argue for domestic violence going unpunished by the NFL, but it would have been interesting if you had provided some counter-arguments for the justification of the NFL's reaction to domestic violence.

Dillon Hershey (Student 2016)
Dillon Hershey

This is such a touchy subject to almost everyone and I think that you handled it very well. This is a side that many people don't see; that if jail is their (the football players) only punishment, there are no repercussions on them. You explained this very well and I learned a lot from this.

Mali Fenning (Student 2016)
Mali Fenning

Ameer, you had a lot of really great examples about certain football players who have gotten away with domestic violence. You had a lot of good information from those instances. I wish that you would have added in some statistics about domestic violence or shared some of the negative affects that happens when football players get away with crimes. From your essay I got a good understanding of what happens in these situations but I wish I saw more history and facts on why this issue is so important. Who does it affect and why/how? What in history has led up to football players being so overly glorified?

Abdullah Jeffers (Student 2016)
Abdullah Jeffers

I see your point but domestic violence happens all over the place and just is not reported and the fact that these men are professional athletes there case are overblown. For example in Ray Rice's case he was wrong for what his did, but was his fiancee right as well. Clearly some blame can be brought onto her as we do not know the words she exchanged with him inside of the elevator. Ultimately after everything they got married.

Christian Moore (Student 2016)
Christian Moore

Even though the average man may face heavier consequences from their actions, do you think people would care as much if they were the ones committing the crime. I think the fact these people are in the spotlight plays a role into the scenario also.