NFL Tragedies Bring Domestic Abuse, Impaired Driving Issues To Forefront

By Harry Dole

While NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is bemusing fans with his enigmatic suggestion to eliminate the iconic kickoff, the league has unwittingly been entangled in two profound societal issues which are epidemic in nature: domestic abuse and impaired driving.  One hopes Goodell is not buried too knee deep in the kickoff file to address these dark social issues.

Of course, thanks to liberal leaning nanny state advocates such as NBC sports guru Bob Costas, Belcher’s domestic abuse/murder/suicide case has been morphed into a firearms and gun control issue.  Even former Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy  has thrown a hat into the ring by recounting a story where he asked his players in training camp how many possessed guns.  Why Dungy even asked his players this question is a bit odd.

Predictably, this has led to some discussion as to whether or not NFL players should be required to turn in their firearms, thus violating their Second Amendment Right to the U.S. Constitution.  No doubt, by concentrating on distraction and diversion in the aftermath of the Belcher atrocity, the NFL does appear to have some type of agenda.

As often is the case, the gun control issue (which does not necessarily apply directly to the Belcher case) has unfairly overshadowed the domestic abuse issue.  Certainly, domestic violence does not only affect football players; it affects accountants, lawyers, doctors, blue collar workers and individuals from all walks of life.  This human plague apparently has no boundaries.

Using gun control as a smoke screen does a tremendous disservice to the domestic violence issue, which as it stands, does not get anywhere near the awareness it deserves.  Making the rounds is a petition to the NFL requesting it raise awareness for the domestic abuse issue.

Here is a high profile domestic abuse issue which can be used as an opportunity to bring awareness to this vital issue.  So what does the NFL decide to do with this unforeseen “opportunity”?  They decide to roll out Costas and Dungy to pass judgment and lecture everyone about how bad guns are.  Talk about a missed opportunity in the red zone!

On the impaired driving front, the NFL should be commended for publicizing the NFLPA’s program which offers rides to players who may find themselves in an inebriated state.  During halftime of Sunday night’s game, Costas spoke with NBC colleague Dungy, who explained the Safe Ride program.

However, many players have a distrust for this program, because too many instances of using it may be used against them by the league.  For these players, there exists the anonymous options of taking a limo, car service or a cab.  Or better yet, a trusted companion who does not drink.

Preventing a person from drinking alcohol is not possible, especially in a society where it is plentiful.  However, individuals need to learn how to drink responsibly, thus avoiding potentially destructive behavior.

For the entire country to take the irresponsible drinking issue seriously, revisiting the minimum drinking age of 21 may be a place to start.  Since young men go to war and die for their country at age 18, this nanny state law has always been as baffling as Goodell’s kickoff suggestion.

If athletes can train to perform near superhuman feats, why can they not be trained to make a simple phone call when they require assistance to get home safely?  Getting some of these guys to ditch their expensive cars and enormous egos, not their guns, may be the biggest problem here.

Oh yeah…as for Goodell’s pondering of whether or not to change the kickoff rule, the NFL should leave such absurd rule changes for some other league to make.  Even the older Canadian Football League, which has its share of rules which deviate from the NFL, has no plans to boot the kickoff.

Once Goodell completes work on the all important kickoff file, maybe then he can work on more pressing league concerns; like getting the Buffalo Bills to exterminate their depressing vintage logo.

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