My mom is the easily the greatest woman I know. Yeah, she dropped me when I was four and I broke my arm, but other than that she’s provided me with anything I’ve ever wanted and needed. Wants and needs aside and the most important aspect of all, is that she’s always been there for me. I faintly remember the times where my dad couldn’t make it to some of my basketball games and there would be my mom sitting alone, not knowing a single thing about basketball, but still cheering because she knew I needed her there. My mom is a miracle worker for shaping me into the man I’ve become today and every kid on this planet deserves to have the kind of relationship I had with my mom. The sad reality is that some kids won’t have that opportunity. Every year over three million children witness domestic violence. Survivors of domestic abuse are most likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and other types of emotional distress effectively making it impossible to be a good parent.
Amidst all the issues surrounding the NFL and domestic violence I can’t help but wonder, did it really take something like the Ray Rice saga for us to realize how disgusting it is to hit a woman? The topic generally has been ignored for years. For instance no more than fifteen years ago a Carolina Panther player named Rae Carruth hired a hit man to kill his pregnant wife and succeeded in doing so. With that being said the same Carolina Panthers organization allowed their best player Greg Hardy to continue playing despite being charged with domestic violence. The details in that case are horrifying, and he would have continued playing if not for the media firestorm that ensued following the Ray Rice case. The point I’m trying to make is why must something go horribly, horribly wrong for society to finally perk its ears up and realize it’s an issue?
This isn’t just an NFL issue either, this is a society issue, and in most cases it goes unreported. For all the high profile cases we do hear about there are more than triple that we don’t hear about. The NCAA needs to step up and create a code of conduct for athletes who commit domestic violence crimes. For the most part the independent schools have decided the punishment, but there needs to be a national standard of conduct in place. The University of Tennessee recently kicked off freshman running back Treyvon Paulk for an incident in which he was accused of hitting his girlfriend at a party. No charges were filed but the school set a standard by showing its players that they will not put up with such accusations. The University of Texas went through a similar scenario with basketball player Martez Walker; he was suspended from the team and barred from campus aside from going to class. The universities are setting a precedence but I believe that ultimately the NCAA should set the rules.
Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA recently said in an interview that, “The most important thing to the NCAA is that student athletes aren’t treated in any privileged or disproportionate fashion.” He firmly believes that it’s the responsibility of the school to treat and delve out punishments for cases of domestic violence. A month ago the NCAA released a handbook with effective ways to treat and handle cases of domestic violence involving student athletes, but no rules or standards were set in place. Treating domestic violence cases on a circumstantial basis is not an adequate resolution. The NFL has done that for years and look how that blew up in their faces. If the NCAA wants to “get this right” they will also create a set list of punishments for athletes who are convicted or accused of these heinous crimes.
*Section Photo credit to Jamie Squire, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Nick Wass, Associated Press