NFL Players Need a Positive Outlook

In a league plagued by recent arrests, the NFL has hit the abuse trifecta: domestic, drug and child. Since the start of August there have been nine NFL player arrests, five on drug- or alcohol-related charges, three domestic violence and one case of child abuse. Despite having 42 NFL arrests in the year 2014, these nine latest arrests have brought the morality of the NFL to the forefront of media discussion, carried by the domestic violence charges of Pro Bowler, Ray Rice.
These recent cases have sparked an interesting debate: how should these incidents be handled, and to what extent are the domestic violence instances unique to the NFL? Roger Goddell himself (the Judge, jury and executioner for the Ray Rice case) admits the incident was poorly handled, following the TMZ release of a video exposing Ray Rice hitting his wife in an elevator.
By no means are these kinds of actions allowed in the NFL or society as a whole for that matter, but the handling of the scenario is what plastered the case onto the front page of every newspaper. There have been three other arrests for domestic violence in the NFL this year (Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald and Quincy Enuwa), but all three slid under the radar; that is, until the recent revelations in the Ray Rice incident.
When comparing the number of domestic violence cases within the NFL to that of general society, the number four over a nine-month span seems like a fairly small number. And, in actuality, it is. According to the USA Today NFL Arrest Database, there are less than one hundred domestic violence arrests per 100,000 players, a point one percent rate. Compared to the national average of close to two hundred arrests per 100,000 people (provided by BJS.gov), something right seems to be going on in the NFL in regards to domestic violence.
If you take domestic violence charges in the NFL, however, and compare it to the total assault arrest of players, the numbers reveal 48 percent of violent crimes are for domestic violence. A number too big for many; a number that needs to change.
The life of a NFL player is predicated on adrenaline bursts, moments of extreme intensity and acceleration. They live under a spotlight, are expected to live in the highest of standards and hold themselves with a dignity far beyond many of their peers. Their whole life is built upon the pressure of success, and the moment they do not succeed they lose the fan base they had worked so long to attain.
Being an NFL player is not an easy life, we have to understand that. But at the same time, we need to address these issues of domestic violence. Create an outlet for the stress and adrenaline of the NFL player. Understand their problems before we condemn their actions. In the end, it is about protecting women and ensuring we create an environment where domestic violence becomes almost obsolete. To do this we must truly understand the player, the perpetrator of the crimes; from there we can start to help cure the victims who have been, are and one day may be.

TJ Kennedy is a fourth-year english major. He can be reached at tkenned1@uci.edu