NFL coaches, front-office personnel and owners are probably better off saying nothing about domestic violence. We all know when they talk tough, they don’t really mean it.
It’s easy to make proclamations in an interview though. Like New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo did in January, when asked by the New York Post what he won’t tolerate as a head coach. According to the Q&A transcript, McAdoo gave one answer:
“Domestic violence is something that we’re all cracking down on in this league,” McAdoo said. “That’s something that’s important to us as an organization, important to me as a man, and important to me as a coach.”
McAdoo didn’t even get exposed as a hypocrite over one of his team’s stars. His kicker Josh Brown — a fine kicker, but certainly not irreplaceable — was suspended one game for violating the personal conduct policy after he was arrested for misdemeanor domestic violence in 2015 (and no, I don’t know why the NFL went light on him either). Then the media started looking into Brown’s history, since the arrest was never publicized. Brown’s wife claimed he had been physically violent with her more than 20 times.
Now remember, McAdoo was asked what he won’t tolerate as a head coach, and the one thing he said was “domestic violence.”
“We support the league office in their decision and their stance on personal conduct,” McAdoo said last week, according to the New York Daily News. “I do support Josh as a man, a father, and a player. We treat these situations on a case-by-case basis.”
But as new information surfaced about previous incidents, McAdoo couldn’t just keep ignoring it, right? No tolerance, after all.
“I’ve said everything that I’m gonna say about Josh,” McAdoo said on Tuesday, according to the New York Daily News. “I respect that you have to ask that question but my comments stay my comments.”
I guess domestic violence is not quite as “important to me as a man” as it was before it involved one of his players. If you have no interest in taking action when actually faced with a domestic violence case, why even talk about it?
In the back of our minds, we should know most NFL people are full of it when they talk about issues like domestic violence. It might be important to them to some level (and at very least it’s important for them to project the public image that it’s important to them), but not as important as retaining a kicker who hit 93.8 percent of his field goals last season, much less if one of the team’s true stars was involved in something like this. If your team has said they won’t tolerate domestic violence, take a moment and wonder what its reaction would be if there was a case involving the starting quarterback or another star.
The league can take note, too, because all its talk about domestic violence is only as good as their actions, and the one-game suspension of Brown has been roundly criticized.
Maybe the real lesson here is that teams and the league should get out of the business of talking tough on domestic violence, at least until they’re ready to finally back it up.
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