Dear Roger Goodell,
I want you to know I’m disappointed in you; I disagree with your four game punishment on Brady for possibly deflating footballs, and I find flaw in your suspension of Martavis Bryant for choosing cannabis over narcotics. What is the explanation for four-game suspensions on puncturing footballs versus a one-game suspensions for sexual assault? Your abuse of power isn’t warranted over Sean Payton’s harsh punishment when his players chose to physically target the opposition. Use your power against the players who utilize their role in society for harm instead of good. My animosity towards you boils into a bile of profanities every time I hear your name, but my grievances never really mattered because I’m just some obsessed Patriots fan from Pennsylvania. But now it does. My disappointment and disgust matters because my hostility matches almost every other fan’s, or even every other person’s, perspective of you.
Too busy counting your millions and millions to remember what I’m talking about? Josh Brown, recently released kicker for the New York Giants, admitted to physically and verbally abusing his ex-wife. You and the Giants didn’t act until days after he admitted to domestically assaulting his wife with mirrors, doors and direct advances. Did you know that women are five to eight times more likely to be assaulted or victimized by an intimate partner? Even though Brown had past indiscretions with his partner, you only suspended him just one game previous to the latest string of events. I thought the NFL had a six-game policy with first offense domestic violence issues depending on the severity of the issue?
As Commissioner of the NFL, you’re at the forefront of a prominent entertainment organization in the United States, and football’s spreading beyond our countries boundaries to places like China, London and Canada. Handling domestic abuse cases like you did with most recent blunder with Brown is a slap to every victims and woman’s face. Your actions are a silent undertow of sexism that shouldn’t exist. I understand you’re not always or solely at fault for the NFL’s misgivings, but you need yo realize that some things are bigger than sports and money and the owners of the thirty-two football teams. When will the NFL start treating the players who bring them precious pots of gold more like the criminals they act to be?
As the commissioner and forefront of America’s most popular sport, your position over the NFL’s expanding throne holds a certain responsibility for setting an example to other cultures, nations and younger generations, especially the impressionable college athletes and students. If individuals, especially unbeknownst children, see the detestable leniency of cases like Brown from their role models, how will issues of sexism, domestic assault and rape ever improve or resolve? 85 percent of nonfatal assault victims are female. Take a stance against these violent acts that add up to the battering and assault of nearly one half of women in their lifetimes.
Your job title doesn’t just read football; You set the precedent that sexual and domestic assaults that run rampant across the college circuit somehow have the same weight as silly incidents involving deflated footballs and weed. With your leniency and approach to these instances within the NFL, you adhere to the idea that college students, especially women ages 18 to 24 find themselves at an elevated risk of sexual violence. Sexual assaults are more prevalent in college than any other crimes. Even more so, some of the athletes you recruit for your league are apart of the statistic that at least half of competitive and recreational athletes at an unnamed southern university admitted to committing some sort of sexual coercion.
Although you didn’t singlehandedly cause this college epidemic of rapes and assault, your stances and approach towards professional players impact the way some athletes conduct themselves. Let me put it into perspective: how do you think an impressionable young adult would handle their role model committing such a heinous crime? What do you think transpires when a gifted athlete observes your approach to domestic issues? You might say it’s impossible to know, but I say that’s the problem. You applied, you accepted, now do your job as a pivotal public figure.
As a fan and a believer in the football gods, I love the game; I live for pick-sixes, Gronk spikes, stories of triumphant and the connection felt between otherwise very different individuals. Except now something else is seeping into my Sundays–a feeling of sinking guilt. I feel guilty supporting an organization that enables players to walk amongst the masses feeling invincible just because they can jump higher, run faster and hit harder than the rest of us. The NFL shouldn’t ignore obvious issues like concussions and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (RIP Kevin Turner) or ignore the complaints of their employees (in this case the players) in order to abuse a sense of power that was essentially built on adhering to the fans, owners and players to continue a longstanding tradition of football. This letter is from one person, but my words are echoed by every player, college student and fan who cares about the integrity of the game. Remember, some things are bigger than sports.
A disheartened female fan