By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s been several weeks now since the Kareem Hunt news spread rapidly around the country. As such, most of the football-viewing public has essentially moved on to the next big story, whatever that may be.
But for the NFL team owners who are meeting this week in Texas, the league’s mishandling of yet another case of a player’s act of violence toward a woman remains a significant topic.
And, according to at least one owner who spoke anonymously to Fansided’s Jason Cole, the league’s fumbling of this case serves as an embarrassment for the NFL.
“We look like idiots because we can’t get it right consistently,” the unnamed owner said to Cole. “Yeah, some people think this is like Ray Rice because of the video and what happened. That’s BS. It’s not like Ray Rice. It’s worse than Ray Rice because we were supposed to get it right this time.”
The owner is certainly not wrong. After the league got exposed nationally for not caring about a player committing an act of violence on a woman in 2014 with Rice, commissioner Roger Goodell tried to (at least appear to) take a proactive approach to the matter. He vowed that the league would take such matters seriously going forward, hiring new people in new positions who were better qualified for such things.
“I didn’t get it right. Simply put, we have to do better. And we will,” Goodell promised.
Since then, though, Goodell and the NFL have essentially kept on the same course. The league once again got caught trying to sweep domestic abuse under the rug with Giants kicker Josh Brown. Goodell didn’t have the time to attend Greg Hardy’s reinstatement hearing, a meeting which was a complete debacle. The league ignored the suggestion of the NFL-hired investigator in the Ezekiel Elliott case, deciding to suspend the Cowboys running back despite a lack of evidence. (Leading the charge on both the light punishment for the Giants player and the harsh punishment for the Cowboys player was the league-hired Lisa Friel, a proud die-hard Giants fan.)
And those are just the “highlights,” for lack of a better term. Time and time again, over the past five years especially, the NFL has proven incapable of handling such matters.
Some of the owners apparently are seeking to change that. According to Cole, some owners want to put any and all investigative powers into a third party, thus removing the league itself from the fact-gathering part of the equation. Cole said that three owners blamed Goodell and Friel for the regular mishandling of investigations.
Whatever the owners may decide to do, it will more than likely be a decision made based on practicality and perception than it is based on a desire to actually better investigate these matters. Because, really, until the public at large proves (by way of not giving dollars to the NFL and its teams) that it cannot stand for the league’s handling of players committing acts of violence on women, then most owners won’t be motivated to make much change.
But, well, at least that one owner appears to have some semblance of a conscience.