bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: I guess the NFL is okay with domestic violence

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NFL training camps are just getting underway. Football, certainly the most popular sport in this country, is about to become the center of our sports world yet again. The NFL, you would imagine, should be trying to make sure that it sets the tone for the coming season appropriately. No one wants to start a new season off with a huge misstep, right? Despite that, the 2014 season has stepped in a pothole almost before it has started, and rather than setting the table for a great new year of football, we are all talking about Ray Rice, Stephen A. Smith, domestic abuse and inadequate punishments.

Back in February, Rice, a running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was arrested after he knocked out his fiancee in a casino in Las Vegas. Video of him dragging her out of the elevator unconscious made quite the stir. They were both arrested, actually, as she reportedly struck him as well. The case has not yet gone to trial, but the two of them have been going to some kind of counseling. My guess was that the punishment from the NFL would be pretty severe, considering the infraction here. On Thursday, though, it was revealed that Rice had been suspended for a mere two games. I was stunned by this. As noted by numerous people on Twitter, he would have gotten four games if he had smoked pot. He gets just two for knocking his girlfriend unconscious? That’s unbelievable. Even if Janay Palmer, who is now his wife, had attacked him first, Rice is a 220-pound man and should know that what he did was completely wrong and unconscionable.

The NFL is sending a terrible message to its fans by being so lenient with this punishment. Domestic violence is a major problem in this country and the league had a perfect opportunity to make a statement here. Rice should be sitting out the season. Instead, he will miss only two games and will be right back on the field before the weather has gotten cold. Brutal.

To make matters worse, professional loudmouth Stephen A. Smith made an ass of himself yet again on ESPN’s First Take on Friday. Smith seemed to be trying to bash Rice for his actions, but it somehow turned into a lecture to women about being careful not to provoke men into beating them. Seriously. Smith has since been ripped up and down by virtually everyone, and he issued the standard apology on the show Monday morning.

I know it makes for good column fodder, but I really do hate all of the bad behavior exhibited by athletes, especially football players. There are a lot of good ones out there, and it would be nice if their actions weren’t so completely overshadowed by scumbags like Ray Rice.

Bad sports, continued:

2) Former Jacksonville Jaguars first round draft pick and current train wreck Justin Blackmon is in trouble yet again. This time he was arrested for marijuana possession in Oklahoma during a traffic stop. It seems like it might not be too long before he is referred to as an ex-NFL player.

3) The NFL’s Pouncey brothers, Maurkice and Mike, have improved upon their rating as quality human beings. Not content to just be the guys who firmly planted themselves on the side of Aaron Hernandez, they have now been sued for allegedly verbally abusing and then assaulting some people during their birthday party earlier this year. Maybe Hernandez will keep the cell next to him warm for these guys.

4) Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen, who has owned the team for 30 years, has stepped down from his role with the team and revealed that he has Alzheimer’s disease. Bowlen is 70 years old.

5) A fan of the Cleveland Browns recorded video of himself urinating on the grave of deceased Baltimore Ravens owner Art Modell and posted the video to YouTube. Modell moved the original Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1996.

6) It’s always fun to watch bizarre soccer goals. Here is a particularly weird one. The keeper might want to be a little more careful with his clearing kick next time.

7) In World Team Tennis, it seems an injury to one member of a doubles team does not end the match. Taylor Townsend had to take on both Martina Hingis and Anastasia Rodionova by herself after Liezel Huber, her partner, was injured during the match. To make things worse, the rules prohibited her from attempting any return of serve during the points for which Huber should have been in the backcourt. Bizarre.

8) The Colorado Rockies gave out Troy Tulowitzki jerseys during a game on Saturday. The problem was that the player’s last name was spelled wrong on the back of the jerseys. Nice work.

Good sports:

1) Sunday’s running of NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was the twentieth anniversary of Jeff Gordon’s win in the inaugural running of the race in 1994. Gordon celebrated by winning this one too, his fifth win at the legendary track.

2) Here’s another soccer goal to check out, but this one is pretty awesome. Miralem Pjanicof of Roma launched a shot from his own side of the pitch that cleared the keeper and got his team on the scoreboard during a match against Manchester United during an International Champions Cup match in Denver on Saturday.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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