This is one of the things that is most bothersome about Elliott’s suspension.
“Ezekiel Elliott does not deserve a six game suspension, especially when New York Giants kicker Josh Brown got just one game last year after admitting he abused his wife. The reasoning behind the punishment does not add up and defies logic.”
If the NFL wants to dole out punishment above and beyond what any criminal investigation found, that’s their right. You don’t like it, don’t sign the contract, or get the NFLPA to stand up against Goodell on the issue. As a fan, if you don’t like the way the NFL runs it’s business, you can simply choose to stop following to game.
But, when they do dole out punishment in an inconsistent fashion like this, there’s something about it that reeks. Elliott had zero criminal charges filed because there was some serious doubt about his accusers statements. The NFL gave him six games anyway, for what they deemed to be a likelihood that there was violence, and probably because of some less-than-stellar off field moments since.
Josh Brown admitted to hitting his wife. He got one game.
What’s the difference? Is the NFL trying to flex it’s muscle against a star player to send a message that they didn’t bother to when it was “just a kicker”. Or is it just possible that the optics of a large black man hitting a woman seem just a little more harsh to the NFL than a smallish white man? Is it just possible that the images of Ray Rice in that elevator has scared the league, not because they showed that what happened was way worse than they had thought originally? And, again, the visual of a large black man hitting a woman was unforgettable. The league looks at Elliott and sees a large black man, possibly hitting a woman and wants to make sure that they don’t have to deal with another visual like that, and when they looked at Josh Brown, they saw a comparatively small white man and thought, yeah sure he hit his wife, but how bad could it have been?
The two punishments beg for comparison, and there is no logical reason to suspend Josh Brown for one game when you’re doling out 6 games on the regular to players simply accused of assault with no criminal charges. Unless, you’re living in fear of the “large black man committing violence” optic.
If the NFL is living with that fear, and doling out suspensions based on that, not only is it racist, but it flies in the face of the reality of domestic violence. Domestic violence occurs everywhere. While couples, black couples, Latino couples, straight couples, gay couples. The violence is perpetrated by men and women both, of all shapes and sizes.
If the NFL wants to get serious about domestic violence it needs to get serious about it in all it’s shapes and forms. Violence is violence, no matter if it’s perpetrated by 300-lb black men, or 180-lb white kickers, 70 year old coaches and GMs, or anyone involved in the sport regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, and so on.
Domestic violence is never acceptable, but if the NFL is giving out suspensions based on the size and race of the player involved, that is just as unacceptable. When you compare what the NFL announced for Ezekiel Elloiott versus what it did to Josh Brown, it’s hard to come away with any other conclusion.