Breaking: Ray Rice wins appeal of indefinite suspension, re-instated to NFL

Ray Rice won his appeal of the indefinite suspension he received after video surfaced of him striking his wife in an elevator.

Ray Rice won his appeal of the indefinite suspension he received after video surfaced of him striking his wife in an elevator.

By Charles Glover, Jr

NFL player Ray Rice won his appeal of his indefinite suspension handed down to him by Commissioner Roger Goodell, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Rice is immediately eligible to return to play for any team that is willing to sign him for the remainder of the season.

When asked by ESPN’s Andrew Grant if the league would pursue any further action against Rice, an NFL spokesman said “We, of course, accept the ruling as binding.”

Today's ruling by Judge Jones was a tough pill to swallow as his ruling was once again overturned by an independent party.

Today’s ruling by Judge Jones was a tough pill to swallow as his ruling was once again overturned by an independent party.

The appeal of the Rice’s suspension was heard in the US District Court by Judge Barbara Jones earlier this month. Among those called to testify at the hearing were Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Ray Rice, and his wife, Janay.

The ruling is significant because it essentially suggests that the judge believed Rice’s statements that he told Goodell about everything that took place the night when he hit his then-fiancé, now wife earlier this year. Goodell insisted in September that when the video was released showing Rice punching his then-fiancée in an elevator he had no knowledge of the extent of Rice’s conduct because when he interviewed Rice immediately after the incident Rice spoke to him “in ambiguous terms.”

Read OnPointPress.net for more information about the ruling by Judge Jones –Onpointpress.net–

The NBA learned from ‘Malice at the Palace,’ Will the NFL learn from its woes?

Before the brawl headed into the crowd, there was a dustup between Ben Wallace and Ron Artest.

Before the brawl headed into the crowd, there was a dustup between Ben Wallace and Ron Artest.

By Charles Glover Jr.

On November 19, 2004 the NBA was turned upside down with a brawl that eventually changed the view of players and the league itself. Dubbed the “Malice at the Palace,” the brawl between the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons erupted into the stands and earned recognition by the Associated Press as “the most infamous brawl in NBA history.”

The brawl spilled into the crowd as things escalated during the infamous night in Detroit.

The brawl spilled into the crowd as things escalated during the infamous night in Detroit.

Ron Artest (now Metta World Peace) was at the center of the brawl that started after Artest and Pistons center Ben Wallace got into a minor altercation. Artest then threw a drink at a fan from the crowd. Artest then charged into the stands and attacked the person that thought was the assailant. Other Pacers like Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O’neal were fierce in their support of their teammate during the melee that spread from the crowd onto the court.

The result was a prolonged stain on the image of the NBA as the fight with fans seemed to justify the concerns by some that the NBA had become too boorish and abrasive to accommodate the upscale portion of their fan-base. NBA’s commissioner at the time, David Stern, decided to institute sweeping changes to bridge the gap between NBA fans and its players. Several players received stiff penalties, highlighted by Artest’s 73-game suspension, which was the equivalent to all games remaining in the season.

David Stern was the commissioner of the NBA during the Malice at the Palace and was at the forefront of major changes that eventually benefitted the NBA.

David Stern was the commissioner of the NBA during the Malice at the Palace and was at the forefront of major changes that eventually benefitted the NBA.

The league also made changes to security measures and alcohol limits at games. Shortly thereafter, the NBA instituted a dress code, requiring the players to dress in suits when traveling for games. The dress code was geared towards changing the perception that too many players were distancing themselves from fans by embracing hip hop culture in their dress and attitude. The NBA became the first of the major sports to have such a requirement.

The four prominent participants in the Pacers - Pistons  brawl (l - r) Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine  O'neal, Ben Wallace.

The four prominent participants in the Pacers – Pistons brawl (l – r) Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson, Jermaine O’neal, Ben Wallace.

There were many opponents to some of the changes, specifically the dress code, as the changes seemed to be an overreaction to the “Malice at the Palace.” However, there was no doubt the NBA as facing an image problem. There was also increasing frustration with the NBA as they struggled in their representation of the USA in the 2004 Olympics and 2006 World Cup. These events provided enough of an impetus by Stern to make major changes to the way people view NBA players.

Stern has made a number of questionable decisions but the approach he took to reshape the image of the NBA at that time was a necessary one. The changes were not popular amongst everyone, including many fans. There was also renewed efforts to bring the best players to international competition. This calculated move helped bring national support to the NBA players during their gold medal run in the 2008 Olympics and thereafter.

The NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell (c) could learn from the NBA on how to change league perception following scandals involving Ray Rice (r) and Adrian Peterson (l).

The NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell (c) could learn from the NBA on how to change league perception following scandals involving Ray Rice (r) and Adrian Peterson (l).

The changes to NBA policies and initiatives were reactions to a number of negative incidents that were highlighted by the “Malice at the Palace.” Stern and NBA executives were wise enough to sense that there was enough of the fan-base that desired noticeable changes to some aspects of how NBA players operate. There are times when it is necessary to make forceful changes to make a lasting impact and the NBA was able to shift the perception in their favor.

However, the shift in perception took years to take effect. The lesson NFL commissioner Roger Goodell can apply to the current dismal state of affairs with the NFL with the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson scandal is that it is necessary to make forceful changes that address the problem. There also must be patience that is earned from operating in a matter that demonstrates that the league is as appalled by the troubles of the league and will take exceptional measures to rectify matters.

(l - r) Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James have helped reshape the NBA image with Team USA and by making an impact in their communities as well as for their teams.

(l – r) Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James have helped reshape the NBA image with Team USA and by making an impact in their communities as well as for their teams.

The NBA now has a number of stars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul who are noticed for their great play on the court and positive impact away from the game as well. The NBA has also seen increase in viewership and monetary growth in the 10 years since the “Malice at the Palace.” As the next 10 years unfold, the NBA seems to be miles away from the negativity that surrounded the league in 2004.will the NFL be smart enough to emulate the NBA model, which has improved the league’s image and profitability at the same time? Only time will tell.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindoMES on Twitter.com.

Who will speak up for the children who were abused by NFL stars?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he disappointed many people but declined to acknowledge children, who were victimized by high profile NFL stars.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he disappointed many people, including himself but declined to acknowledge children, who were victimized by high- profile NFL stars.

On Friday, September 19, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell emerged from his self-imposed, 10-day, hideout from the public, sponsors, NFL team owners, players and members of the media to preside over a press conference that was long on vagueness and short on concrete solutions.While Goodell issued several mea culpas, he failed to apologize to the victims, particularly the children, who have been, and continue to be, damaged by the violent actions of NFL stars.

Goodell spoke about how “sorry’ he was  for the incidents of domestic and child abuse that have cast a pall over the game. He spoke about the valuable advice he expects to receive from his recently assembled domestic violence panel. Yet, while the NFL appointed an all-white panel of females to address the scourge of domestic violence, the league has been noticeably silent about the issue of child abuse. This needs to be changed without further delay.

Victims of child abuse.

Victims of child abuse, cling to each other for strength and support.

When children witness domestic violence incidents by their parents or endure severe acts of corporal punishment such as what Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson administered to his four-year old son, the emotional scars last a lifetime. Experiencing a dysfunctional household exposes vulnerable children to potential lifetimes of harm, inability to establish trust and challenges with establishing appropriate boundaries.

Goodell has a responsibility to work hard at eliminating such awful conduct by his players so that women and children can be protected. Children, who are defenseless, deserve even greater protection. Goodell’s failure to outline clearcut measures to rid his league of abusive and violent conduct exhibited by his players, is beyond troubling. It’s a disgrace.

I-can-t-STOP-IT-stop-child-abuse-31299494-500-440

It is often said that “It takes  a village to raise a child.” Where is the village now in calling on the NFL to implement policies to protect children? Where is the panel of experts that the NFL has put together to address child abuse? Why is it that at each press conference announcing that various players are being benched or placed on the “commissioner’s exempt list” no information is given about what is being done to focus on the abused children?

Has the NFL forgotten the abuse that Jerry Sandusky unleashed on innocent children at Penn State University because too many adults remained silent? It is time for Goodell to come out and publicly address the specific measures he plans to implement to keep children safe. Also, it is time for the public to be aggressive in demonstrating interest in the well-being of all children, not only those whose fathers play in the NFL–OnPointPress.net.

 

Ray Rice released by the Baltimore Ravens, suspended indefinitely by NFL

Ray Rice

Ray Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens on September 8, 2014 after TMZ released a video which showed him punching his then-fiancé, now wife in the elevator, causing her to hit her head and lose consciousness.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

Breaking News: NFL Network reported that the Baltimore Ravens released running back Ray Rice effective immediately after a graphic video surfaced of him physically abusing his then-girlfriend, and now wife Janay Palmer.

TMZ video of Ray Rice (l) and his wife Janay  Palmer (r).

TMZ video of Ray Rice (l) and his  then-girlfriend Janay Palmer (r). In the video, Rice is seen delivering a punch to Palmer’s face, causing her to hit her head on the elevator and fall down.

The Ravens made the announcement via a Tweet which read: “The Baltimore Ravens terminated the contract of RB Ray Rice this afternoon.”

Earlier on Monday, September 8, TMZ released the full video showing in detail the domestic violence that occurred between Rice and his Palmer.

The NFL Network also reported that the NFL has suspended Rice indefinitely from the league. No statements have been released yet by the Ravens, Rice, National Football Players Association (NFLPA) or NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. But the White House issued a stern rebuke via a statement read by press secretary Josh Earnest.

“Hitting a woman is not something a real man does. Stopping domestic violence is something that’s bigger than football and all of us have a responsibility to put a stop to it,” Earnest said.

Goodell came under fire for the two-game suspension that he handed down to RIce earlier this summer. As a result, Goodell changed the league’s conduct policy so that all NFL personnel will be fined with a six-game suspension for the first instance of domestic violence and face a lifetime ban after the second incident.

Stay tuned to OnPointPress.net for more updates.–OnPointPress.net–

NFL’s Roger Goodell makes drastic changes to the personal conduct policy

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded to critics of the punishment of Ray Rice by making sweeping changes to the NFL personal conduct policy.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell responded to critics of the punishment of Ray Rice by making sweeping changes to the NFL personal conduct policy.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Thursday August 28, Roger Goodell issued a letter to all the teams in the NFL notifying them of sweeping changes to the personal conduct policy. Sharing the mindset that led to the change, Goodell stated, “At times, however, and despite our best efforts, we fall short of our goals. We clearly did so in response to a recent incident of domestic violence. … My disciplinary decision led the public to question our sincerity, our commitment, and whether we understood the toll that domestic violence inflicts on so many families. I take responsibility both for the decision and for ensuring that our actions in the future properly reflect our values. I didn’t get it right”

An excerpt from the letter, reproduced below states the particulars of the changes:

MEMORANDUM TO ALL NFL PERSONNEL

“Domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong. They are illegal. They are never acceptable and have no place in the NFL under any circumstances.

Our Personal Conduct Policy has long made clear that domestic violence and sexual assault are unacceptable. We clearly must do a better job of addressing these incidents in the NFL. And we will. Earlier today, I sent NFL owners a letter that identified specific actions we will take to improve our response to domestic violence and sexual assault.

Goodell's (r) changes  are a clear indication that the public outcry from the punishment levied against Ray Rice (l) have changed the way he wants to punish players in the future.

Goodell’s (r) changes are a clear indication that the public outcry from the punishment levied against Ray Rice (l) have changed the way he wants to punish players in the future.

Those actions include the following:

• All NFL Personnel will participate in new and enhanced educational programs on domestic violence and sexual assault. We will also increase our outreach to college and youth football programs.

• Families will receive detailed information about available services and resources, both through the club and independent of the club. These resources and services will be available to employees and their families on a confidential basis.

• Violations of the Personal Conduct Policy regarding assault, battery, domestic violence and sexual assault that involve physical force will be subject to enhanced discipline. A first offense will be subject to a suspension of six weeks without pay. Mitigating circumstances will be considered, and more severe discipline will be imposed if there are aggravating circumstances such as the presence or use of a weapon, choking, repeated striking, or when the act is committed against a pregnant woman or in the presence of a child. A second offense will result in banishment from the league; an offender may petition for reinstatement after one year but there is no assurance that the petition will be granted. These disciplinary consequences apply to all NFL personnel.”

Goodell did not hold a press conference to address some potential questions stemming from the drastic changes. The NFL Players Association declined to comment at this time, choosing to reserve judgement until a later date. Some questions that stand out about the policy changes are:

What will be the penalty for NFL personnel who do not play games under this policy change?

Would Ray Rice have received a different penalty under this policy change or will his punishment be amended retroactively to incorporate the new policy?

If the second offense is worthy of a lifetime ban, then why is the first offense 6 games? Why not longer?

These questions and others will likely be posed to commissioner Goodell in the near future.–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.

NFL, Roger Goodell, face crumbling, tarnished image

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be busy working on penalties for off-the-field indiscretions. There needs to be more emphasis in preventing those occurrences.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will be busy working on penalties for off-the-field indiscretions while addressing the need for preventing those occurrences.

By Charles Glover, Jr.

On Thursday, July 24, National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell levied a two-game suspension on Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. Rice’s suspension stems from a domestic violence incident with his then fiancé, now wife, Janay Palmer. While the length of the suspension generated a great deal of criticism of Goodell’s judgement, the larger issue is the alarming number of NFL personnel facing criminal charges and the shaky NFL image that is presented to the public.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice received a 2 game suspension last week that many felt was  not enough.

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was punished with a two-game suspension last week, causing national uproar from fans who felt the punishment was inadequate.

Part of the uproar about Rice’s suspension stemmed from the length of suspension for  legal issues and the discrepancy in penalties levied by the NFL for drug offenses. Some people believe the NFL commissioner is painting himself in a difficult corner when it comes to these inconsistent penalties. ESPN NFL Writer Jim Trotter was blunt:

“Once perceived as being too tough and inflexible, [Goodell] now comes across as being too soft on domestic violence — even at a time when the league is courting female fans.”

Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslem is paying $92 million as penalty arising from a federal fraud investigation. However, he has not violated any NFL conduct policies.

Cleveland Browns Owner Jimmy Haslam is paying $92 million as penalty arising from a federal fraud investigation. However, he has not violated any NFL conduct policies.

The NFL has demonstrated that there is considerable difference between breaking specific NFL drug rules and vague NFL conduct rules. Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has agreed to pay a $92 million penalty as a result of a federal fraud investigation. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello issued a statement on Haslam’s case, which said: “There have been no allegations of any personal conduct that it is violation of NFL policy.”

There have been numerous personnel from different teams arrested this offseason, with the charges varying from Driving Under the Influence (DUI) to attempted murder. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has amended his initial inclination to suspend players immediately who are arrested and has repeatedly stated, “We have to let the [legal] process play out before we determine if any sanctions are necessary.” This change  in attitude has resulted in roughly two years passing without players being suspended under the NFL Personal Conduct Policy.

Greg Hardy, of the Carolina Panthers, has also received a conviction due to  domestic assault on a woman. Though his case is being appealed, Goodell could still levy a penalty.

Greg Hardy, of the Carolina Panthers, has also received a conviction due to domestic assault on a woman. Though his case is being appealed, Goodell could still levy a penalty.

Goodell will have plenty of cases to resolve over the next several weeks. Carolina Panthers Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy was found guilty on July 15 of assaulting and threatening a  female. However, Hardy and his defensive team have been granted an appeal and a jury trial for this case is expected to occur early next year. Hardy will be free until the trial is over, but that does not preclude the NFL from making a judgement in the interim.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news for months due to his arrest for DUI and drug possession. Goodell has yet to penalize Irsay but has stated that the possibility exists.

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news for months due to his arrest for DUI and drug possession. Goodell has yet to penalize Irsay but has stated that the possibility exists.

Additionally, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has been in the news because of his arrest and DUI and drug charges. An owner having legal problems has brought extra attention to how the NFL is dealing with NFL personnel having legal problems. Many fans have voiced their displeasure with the process. The NFL also has the continued link to Aaron Hernandez and his ongoing murder trials as reminders of the legal problems facing different players in the league.

Browns wide receiver is facing a one-year suspension for failing another drug test. His appeal will be held on Aug. 1.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is facing a one-year suspension for failing another drug test. His appeal will be held on Aug. 1.

There is also the appeal hearing scheduled for August 1 in the case of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who has already received a year-long suspension for failing another drug test. Gordon was also arrested for DWI this summer after learning of the suspension and upcoming appeal. With the NFL regular season just six weeks away from starting, the NFL would like all of the emphasis to stay on the field of play. San Francisco 49ers defensive end Aldon Smith is also expected to face some sort of penalty after having a number of off-the-field issues last season that led to arrests.

 Ben Roethlisberger was among those who received 'swift justice' from the commissioner. Now it appears Goodell takes a more leisurely approach to punishment.


Ben Roethlisberger was among those who received ‘swift justice’ from the commissioner. Now it appears Goodell takes a more leisurely approach to punishment.

Goodell seems to have shifted in philosophy in evaluating matters for suspension and fines. Players like Adam “Pacman” Jones and Ben Roethlisberger received penalties before their legal processes had been completed. Terelle Pryor and coach Jim Tressel received punishment for NCAA violations. These types of premature sanctions have not occurred much recently but that has not made people forget they happened. In fact, they highlight an inconsistency in levying punishment, resulting in fans and members of the media view Goodell with suspicion and unease.

Whatever the penalties levied to the afore-mentioned NFL personnel, the bigger problem Goodell is facing is how to prevent scenarios that require punishment in the first place. The NFL has the largest workforce of the major sports in this country and is debatably the most lucrative and popular. Athletes may not be role models for their community but they tend to be idols for many fans. It is incumbent upon the NFL, Goddell and the NFL Players Association to be more diligent in working on preventing reasons for the commissioner to issue penalties under the NFL Personal Conduct Policy, while making an effort to clean up the NFL’s tarnished image through relevant, ongoing training of its personnel and representatives..–OnPointPress.net–

Charles Glover, Jr. is a sports aficionado and a management training consultant. Follow me @OpenWindowMES on Twitter.com.