Domestic Violence and the Social Responsibility of Athletes

On Social Responsibility in Sports Following the Ray Rice controversy, in which Rice was seen dragging his then fiancé’s body out of an elevator after allegedly knocking her out, many people have come to question the N.F.L’s involvement in such domestic violence scandals, and whether they have a social responsibility to work against domestic violence committed against women. Some journalists, such as Caitlin Kelly, Ian Crouch, and Ta-Nehisi Coates, have since stated that they believe that the N.

F.L and its athletes should be committed to fighting against domestic violence committed against women through raising its awareness and not let it become a forgotten cause, something with which I completely agree. In “The N.F.L.’s New Domestic Violence Rules” Ian Crouch states that N.F.L player should be “[Combating] violence against women” (Crouch, 2014, Para. 5). A similar sentiment is expressed by journalist Caitlin Kelly in her article “Ray Rice and the N.F.L.’s Messy Scourge” in which she states that domestic violence should also be seen as a “worthy cause” that the N.F.L. and its players should be “standing up to” (Kelly, 2014, Para. 11). Similarly Ta-Nehisi Coates in his article “No, Hope Solo Is Not ‘Like’ Ray Rice” comments that domestic violence “deserves a special place in our customs and laws” (Coates, 2014, Para. 5).

I myself have similar beliefs to those expressed by the aforementioned authors. I believe that domestic violence is a serious matter that occurs all too often, yet does not seem to receive the same attention or importance as other issues might (such as drug usage) in the N.

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F.L. This can be seen by the previous lack of detailed rules concerning domestic violence in the N.F.L as opposed to the definitive rules in regards to drug usage (Kelly, 2014, Para. 4). In my opinion, having the influence that the N.F.L does, it is their responsibility to do all they can to raise awareness about domestic violence. There is a tendency for both the N.F.L and the general public to forget about domestic violence crimes committed by players. Whether it’s simply because they have moved on to the next controversy, have been appeased by any form of punishment, or have found excuses to defend those who commit such acts. Kelly, Coates, and Crouch all make a statement in their articles addressing this tendency to overlook crimes committed by athletes, and to mention the damage that doing so can cause to the anti-domestic violence cause. Actions such as allowing players to return after being suspended for only two games (Kelly, 2014, Para.3), using the Hope Solo domestic violence incident as a way to excuse male players’ actions (Coates, 2014, Para. 5) or simply moving on sooner than most might hope (Couch, Para. 4) send out a message, one that states domestic violence is not an important issue.

This is the very message the N.F.L should be combatting. There are those who might argue that the N.F.L has done the most they can to prevent domestic violence through their new rules. However as stated before, the new rules are only “the beginning” (Crouch, 2014, Para. 5). Domestic violence is something that cannot be defeated overnight with a new set of rules, and with all the damage done by the N.F.L failing to punish past offenders, actually punishing those who commit such crimes is only the least they can do. Conclusively, while the N.F.L has recently taken steps towards bringing awareness towards domestic violence, there is still much they can and should do to prevent it as it is their social responsibility to not let it become another forgotten issue, which they have let happen too many times in the past.

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Domestic Violence and the Social Responsibility of Athletes. (2022, Sep 28). Retrieved from

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