Sidelines: Is the NFL handing out too many suspensions?

Sidelines: Is the NFL handing out too many suspensions?

By Drew Friedman ‘16 and Mike Morgan ‘16

Collaborative Writers


Just one week into the 2014-2015 NFL season, 31 notable players have been handed suspensions of at least one game. Ranging from substance abuse violations to arrests for allegedly fabricating a bomb threat in an airport, NFL players have given the league no choice but to suspend them in the early stages of the season.

Or have they?

Is it time for the NFL to start easing up on certain violations, or tighten the leash? Are these suspensions getting in the way of the enjoyment of the fans? Does possession of marijuana really warrant a harsher suspension than charges on domestic violence? These are all questions Commissioner Roger Goodell should consider for the sake of the league moving forward.

Drew Friedman: It is not the frequency that should be challenged, but the unwillingness of Goodell and his board to change their original punishment, post-appeal process. With the recent uprooting of new footage in the Ray Rice Saga, a stern Goodell changed his stance immediately, without any hesitation, banning the star running back indefinitely from the NFL. Does Goodell give into the pressure of the media that easily? Can the most profitable sport in the country be harmed economically by a little bad PR?

Mike Morgan: Of course not. Will far less people tune in to watch Monday Night Football every week because of one criminal running back? Definitely not. There have been PR black eyes peppered throughout every NFL season in recent memory. From the Michael Vick dogfighting scandal to the Donte Stallworth drunk driving incident. At the end of the day, people just want to watch football. And it’s finally back. Ray Rice won’t be getting in the way of the NFL’s viewer ratings.

Drew Friedman: These last few years are a different story. Not only does Ray Rice front the list, but the list has expanded threefold annually since 2008. There is no doubt that the league has been cracking down, and finding excuses to ban these premier athletes. It seems like Goodell’s plan, enacting a more sensitive trigger towards suspensions, has not worked and he now needs to rely on the media to determine what to do.

Mike Morgan: I think it’s about time the NFL starts fining its players who have committed violations. Of course players like Ray Rice deserve much larger punishments, but maybe a substance abuse violation only warrants a fine. It is clear that the NFL cracking down on these policies will not stop people from violating them. There is no reason possession of marijuana charge should be given twice the suspension of a domestic violence charge. The marijuana violation deserves a fine. The domestic violence deserves an extensive suspension. The NFL needs to find a better system of punishment to end these inconsistencies.