The weary state of the NFL

By Mubarak Salami

When it rains, it pours. Such is a phrase NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and other league executives learned this week.

One story after another continued to come out. Again and again, a star player found himself in the news for all the wrong reasons.

What else could go wrong?

I’m sure that’s a question Goodell has pondered numerous times in recent days.

First, the Ray Rice story broke, one of the more disturbing incidents in recent memory. As we all know, the former Pro Bowl running back of the Baltimore Ravens struck his wife Janay Palmer in an elevator, knocking her unconscious. While the video first became accessible to the public early last week, an AP source said a law enforcement official sent the tape to an NFL executive more than five months ago.

Five months? Five months and the NFL did nothing.

The NFL has since denied this report and claims no one in its office had seen the tape or been aware of it until it was released by TMZ last Monday.

Cute cover up, but I’m not buying it.

Even if it’s true and the NFL had not seen the video until now, that’s just as bad, if not worse, than seeing and ignoring it.

It would then be a case of extreme ignorance and negligence on the part of the league. The NFL either had knowledge of the video and tried to sweep it under the rug or did not give this situation its due diligence when Rice was first indicted on assault charges in March, and intentionally chose to remain oblivious.

Either way you slice it, it’s a pretty bad stain on the shirt of Goodell and the league.

So there’s that, and then there’s Adrian Peterson.

One of the NFL’s premier players, the 2013 MVP was indicted Friday on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. Peterson allegedly struck his 4-year-old son with a small tree branch causing the young boy to have to go to the hospital. Peterson turned himself in to authorities Saturday morning.

The incidents involving Rice and Peterson are two of the worst kind.

These, coupled with the ongoing drug abuse problems involving star wide receivers Josh Gordon and Wes Welker, paint a bad picture for the NFL and its players, who are supposed to be role models for our youth.

But wait, there’s more.

Adding to the tumultuous week the NFL experienced off the field, on it, the league saw several of its star players injured. This included talented players such as A.J. Green, Robert Griffin III, DeSean Jackson, Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry, Vernon Davis and Charles Tillman, among others. Filled with countless Pro Bowlers and some of the game’s biggest stars, the list goes on and on.

So how can Goodell fix this? Well, he can’t.

Injuries are a part of the game, those will happen. However, in regards to the off-the-field issues, Goodell needs to do some damage control.

He needs to take action and show football fans across the country what exactly the NFL stands for. He recently said the NFL has “zero tolerance” for players who commit domestic violence or violence against children.

Well, what exactly is zero tolerance? Last time I checked, Adrian Peterson is expected to play Sunday and Ray Rice is appealing his suspension en route to getting back on the field.

I don’t know what Goodell is planning on doing next, but I do know that his job — as well as the notoriety of his league — seriously hangs in the balance.

Mubarak is a senior in LAS. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @justmubar.