Matt McKinney is a senior journalism major and writes ‘Killer Crossover’ for the Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. Write to Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NFL doesn’t care what you think of Adrian Peterson or Ray Rice.
It blocks out the outrage, the domestic violence defense groups and the fact that you want it to have a higher moral compass.
But it doesn’t have one.
However, the NFL does care about one thing: its image.
If Peterson or Rice had been run-of-the-mill players, somebody forgettable at the bottom of the roster, they would’ve been released as soon as their teams found out what happened.
Then the general manager and coach could stand on a podium and pontificate about how they don’t stand for what the players did.
Remember Cedric Wilson? Of course you don’t. He was a fringe wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 2005-08. The Steelers cut him the day after he was arrested for allegedly punching his ex-girlfriend.
“We’re extremely disappointed with this incident,” team chairman Dan Rooney said after releasing Wilson. “The Steelers do not condone violence of any kind, especially against women.”
But I bet you remember James Harrison, the Pittsburgh linebacker who was named the AP Defensive Player of the Year for the 2008 season. Before that season, Harrison was arrested for simple assault and criminal mischief.
He and his girlfriend got into an argument and she locked herself in a bedroom. Harrison broke into the room and broke her cell phone while she attempted to call 9-1-1.
His girlfriend said he slapped her in the face when he got into the room.
Was Harrison released the next day, as Wilson was?
“Each incident must be considered on a case-by-case basis. In the situation with James Harrison, he contacted us immediately after his incident and has taken responsibility for his actions,” Rooney said of not releasing Harrison.
More recently, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he has no tolerance for domestic violence.
“If someone physically abuses a woman and/or physically or mentally abuses or hurts a child, then there’s no understanding,” Harbaugh said.
Ray McDonald, 49ers defensive end, was arrested for domestic violence on Aug. 31, and he has played in every game this season.
Harbaugh cited due process for the reason McDonald is still playing.
What’s different about the 49ers compared to the other teams and situations? Nothing. But McDonald is a premier player.
The NFL needs to either treat A-list players like everybody else, or own up to the double standards it currently holds, and stop pretending it has the integrity to hold these players accountable.