Leagues should have stricter domestic violence policies


By Katrice Perkins

Domestic violence is a serious issue that seems to keep coming up in professional sports. It’s always shocking to hear stories about professional athletes involved in domestic violence cases. There’s always the question of whether the league responded correctly or with too much leniency.

The recent case with WNBA star Brittney Griner was very interesting. It was similar to the Ray Rice case, except for the fact that there was no video footage to go along with it.

Griner and her then-girlfriend (now wife) Glory Johnson were both suspended for seven games of the 34-game season following their domestic violence arrests. I find it surprising that less than one month after the arrests, the two continued with the marriage.

Similar to Griner’s case, Rice and his wife also got married after their altercation.

Considering the fact that Johnson was diagnosed with a concussion after the incident with Griner, it’s clear the fight was very aggressive.

I feel Griner and Johnson should have waited before getting married. Along with the individual counseling they have to go through to have their charges dropped, they should have had couples counseling, or at least marriage counseling now.

Too many of these professional athletes go through counseling and/or get a suspension and believe that’s enough. It’s not. Short-term counseling will not help these people with the issues they have within themselves.

Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension and removal from the Ravens was a huge step forward. Although some people may think it was extreme for someone to lose their career over a personal matter, it brought the act of domestic violence to justice and light.

Domestic violence should be taken seriously. Before the Ray Rice case, the NFL was pretty lenient with previous cases. I think the case garnered so much attention that it gave the NFL no other choice but to make an example out of Rice.

I believe authorities need to be consistent in how they deal with similar issues. Ray Rice’s domestic violence charges were recently dismissed, while Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months for dogfighting. Are spouses not as important as dogs?

I don’t necessarily think professional leagues are lenient for the purpose of keeping their prominent players on the field or court. I think it’s more an issue of ignorance. They don’t like to deal with players’ personal issues until they become public knowledge.

Social media sites help to promote action in these situations because they get people talking, which pressures management and executive boards of these businesses to implement consequences for the people involved. Without social media, I doubt Ray Rice would have been suspended. Cases like his matter.

The NFL is one of the only professional leagues with a specific domestic violence policy. I think other leagues, including the WNBA, should implement them as well. If all the leagues address the issue and set up similar policies, maybe fewer cases will be reported.

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