NFL’s biggest names in domestic violence: Where are they now?
In 2014, the NFL went through a crisis of character. Three pro-bowl caliber players, including the consensus top running back in the league, were accused of domestic violence. Greg Hardy, Ray Rice, and Adrian Peterson all missed significant time on the gridiron as they dealt with the repercussions of their actions off the field.
The 2013 NFL season was Greg Hardy’s coming out party. He earned his first trip to the Pro-Bowl and was voted as one of the league’s top 100 players by his peers. His star was on the rise until the summer of 2014 when Hardy was found guilty of assaulting a female and communicating threats. Hardy’s ex-girlfriend claimed that he choked her, threw her into furniture, and threatened to kill her. Hardy was ruled ineligible for the final 15 games of the regular but still received his salary. At the end of the season, he was released by the Carolina Panthers. The Dallas Cowboys signed Hardy in the offseason. The NFL initially suspended him for 10 games with no pay; however, an arbiter reduced the suspension to four. Hardy will suit up in week five of the regular season after missing a year of football.
Adrian Peterson entered the 2014 season as one of the most dominant offensive players in the NFL. Peterson was indicted by a grand jury in Texas on charges of reckless or negligent injury to a child. The Minnesota Vikings running back was accused of beating his 4-year-old son with a tree branch. He was ruled ineligible for the 15 games of the 2014 season with no pay. Peterson will be active for the Vikings for the first week of the 2015 season.
The most publicized instance of domestic violence was committed by the Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice. The former Rutgers star was indicted on third-degree aggravated assault charges after striking his fiancée and rendering her unconscious. The truly horrible nature of Rice’s crime was shown to the public when TMZ released a video of Rice dragging the victim’s unconscious body out of an elevator in the Reval Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The running back’s contract was terminated with Baltimore, and he was suspended indefinitely by the league; the suspension has since been overturned. Rice is currently a free agent, and, if signed, could play as early as next week. Still, no NFL team has been willing to enter into negotiations with the embattled running back.
The NFL had multiple opportunities to put its foot down and establish a culture of zero tolerance towards domestic violence but the organization failed to capitalize. Their mismanagement of all three cases will result in potentially the entire trio of Hardy, Peterson, and Rice participating in NFL football games by week five.
Do you think these football players deserve a second chance on the field, or should their personal indiscretions not be tolerated? Sound off here, or find me on Twitter @Andrew_Morse4