If you haven’t been living under a rock, you most probably have heard about the assault charges that have been brought against NFL player Ray Rice. Almost a year ago, Rice was caught on camera knocking his now wife, then fiancé, unconscious on an elevator and then carelessly dragging her lifeless body out the elevator.
This assault occurred in February and five month later in July, the NFL finally handed down punishment to one of its public figures: a two game suspension. Then, two months later in September, the NFL comes down even harder on Rice and suspends him indefinitely from the NFL. However, last week, Rice was reinstated into the NFL through appeal due to a technicality in his original hearing. The entire sequence of events can be found here http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2014/5/23/5744964/ray-rice-arrest-assault-statement-apology-ravens
The NFL is a social institution, and/or the branch of the larger institution of entertainment media. Social Institutions are systems within society that teach, reinforce, and regulate the agreed upon norms that exist in society. They determine what is deemed acceptable and the hierarchy of importance for issues that plaque society. They have the power to have a stance on certain issues communicating to members of society what is of most importance to them. Recently, the issue of domestic violence has been a very hot topic. With the case of Ray Rice (who most definitely probably isn’t the first NFL player to physically abuse a loved one) they had the chance to make a stance. Though, the NFL eventually suspended Rice indefinitely, I would argue that this was merely a cover up on their behalf after the damming video was made public. It was not enough to know Rice abused his wife to hand harsh punishments for he was originally given a slap on the wrist for his infractions. This is the real message of this influential institution – that domestic violence does not warrant the fast and swift punishments of other offenses. The NFL only gave harsher punishment when the video surfaced and they feared backlash from fans and other groups; they were simply trying to cover their asses.
Do you agree? Do you believe the NFL does enough to address issues such as domestic violence among their players who are well known public figures within society?