Professional Athletes and Domestic Violence, 1 Harv. Simpson and the countless domestic violence calls placed by Nicole Brown Simpson that preceded those deaths and some pioneering works by author Jeff Benedict. As in the late s, the recent media attention on professional athletes and acts of off-field violence was precipitated by a widely publicized act of violence.
This action resulted in an initial two-game suspension handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, but was later increased to an indefinite suspension after the graphic video of the events that took place inside the elevator surfaced.
District Judge Barbara S.
The point of the debate should never be the reaction of the survivor. However, it is telling to learn that the Baltimore Ravens suggested that she, Janay Rice, apologize for her role in the domestic violence incident alongside her husband.
The Ravens tweeted and later deleted: Some may argue that MLB, the NFL and the NBA should only be concerned with the on-field behavior of their respective athletes, but this is not the stance the leagues have taken.
Each of MLB, the NFL and the NBA has consistently doled out punishment for off-field conduct unrelated to the game, such as driving under the influence, using non-performance enhancing drugs like marijuana and even making racist or homophobic statements which, while repugnant, is not criminal behavior.
If the leagues were only to concern themselves with on-field behavior or off-field behavior that affects the outcome of games, such as use of performance-enhancing drugsat least it would be a logically consistent policy.
Instead, the leagues have been inconsistently punishing players for certain off-field criminal behavior—arguably implicitly condoning the off-field criminal behavior that typically goes unpunished, such as violence against women.
As Senator Claire McCaskill Democrat of Missouri said in her testimony at a Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing on the issue of professional sports and violence against women: As a league, we must have a continued focus on the needs of victims and families; among other things, we must encourage victims and those who observe such misconduct to come forward, to report offenses, and to seek help.
Based on a Westlaw search of newspapers across the United States,  there were 64 reported incidents of domestic violence or sexual assault allegedly committed by athletes in MLB, the NFL and the NBA during this five-year period. The results show that only one of the 64 reported allegations resulted in conviction for the alleged crime though four players pleaded guilty to lesser charges and five pleaded no contestonly seven players were punished by their league, and only two players were punished by their team.
First, many victims of domestic violence and sexual assault do not report to the police. As discussed below, domestic violence and sexual assault have distinct complicating factors, including, for domestic violence, an intimate relationship with the perpetrator and related emotional and economic dependencies, and, for sexual assault, the reality that the victim will likely not be believed and can even be blamed for her own assault.
Second, even when victims have the courage to report to the police, allegations of domestic violence or sexual assault often go unreported by the media until formal charges are pressed.
For instance, on January 14,it was reported that Josh McNary, a linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts, was formally charged with rape, criminal confinement and battery for an incident that took place on December 1, It is unlikely that we would have learned of the allegations if the prosecutor declined to press criminal charges, which, as detailed below, happens more often than not.
The research suggests that professional athletes are rarely formally charged with crimes related to domestic violence or sexual assault, even when there is evidence against them. In this article, I review my findings based on the above-described search related to incidents of domestic violence and sexual assault allegedly perpetrated by players in MLB, the NFL and the NBA in the years through  and highlight certain allegations, the handling of which should inform our approach to such allegations in the future.
Next, I review the league responses to the recent media attention on domestic violence and sexual assault and, in particular, describe and analyze the Revised NFL Policy. Lastly, I consider what steps should be taken to create effective policies in MLB, the NFL and the NBA that account for the realities of domestic violence and sexual assault and ensure that this behavior is no longer left unpunished—even for our most decorated athletes.
Of the 64 total reported allegations of domestic violence and sexual assault by professional athletes from through39 were against NFL players, 16 were against NBA players and 9 were against MLB players. Only one of the allegations of domestic violence resulted in conviction though four players pleaded guilty to lesser charges and three players pleaded no contest and none of the allegations of sexual assault resulted in conviction though two players pleaded no contest.
These numbers reflect a systemic failure, from the leagues to law enforcement to the justice system. Breaking it down by league, there were four sexual assault allegations  and five domestic violence allegations  against MLB players from through Only two players, Milton Bradley and Evan Reed, were formally charged with a crime.
Only Milton Bradley was later convicted. Prosecutors indicated that he attacked his wife five times in andin one incident pushing her against a wall and choking her after she asked him to stop smoking marijuana in front of their children. Only three NBA players had formal charges brought against them.
Only one team, the Boston Celtics, punished its player—Jared Sullinger, who was arrested for assault and battery, intimidation of a witness and malicious destruction of property after allegedly pinning his girlfriend to a bed and the floor, received a one-game suspension.
The only league or team punishment related to these allegations was the well-publicized six-game suspension later reduced to four games by the NFL of Ben Roethlisberger. Of those three trials, Chris Cook of the Minnesota Vikings was acquitted of felony domestic assault by strangulation after allegedly strangling his girlfriend, Chantel Baker.
This, despite evidence that Baker suffered a perforated eardrum, lost hearing in that ear for two weeks, sustained a bloody nose, and had marks on her neck and hemorrhaging in her eyes consistent with strangulation.
Sep 24, · Several professional athletes have made the news recently for charges of domestic violence, including athletes in the National Football League and the U.S. By some estimates, NFL players have a considerably lower rate of domestic violence arrests than the general population. Combat sports athletes such as MMA fighters, boxers and wrestlers are especially sensitive to the topic of domestic violence as it has a greater tendency to reflect poorly on sports that are already considered “violent” and sometimes controversial. Without Consequence: When Professional Athletes Are Violent Off the Field B ethany P. Withers (HLS ’10) examines league treatment of MLB, NBA, and NFL players who have been accused of domestic violence or sexual assault.
The failure of the justice system has been replicated by the leagues themselves, which have only handed down seven punishments out of the 64 reported domestic violence and sexual assault allegations—six by the NFL, one by the NBA only after the recent media attention on the issue and none by MLB.
While the leagues have spent countless hours developing stringent standards related to other off-field conduct, such as drug use, driving under the influence and even acceptable apparel, they have neglected to consider the prevalence and complexities of domestic violence and sexual assault and appropriate processes and procedures for addressing them.
Professional athletes are admired for their talents on the field, but these talents should not excuse them from being held accountable for violent off-field behavior. At this point, it is unclear whether the justice system is failing to successfully prosecute athletes because the public i.
Either way, someone needs to step up to the plate.In the past few years, multiple news stories involving NFL players accused of sexual assault or domestic violence have received widespread attention.
Dolphins linebacker Bryan Cox has seen the reports, one after another, about athletes who abuse women. Cox loathes domestic abuse. He also loathes the stories that follow every incident, the. Moreover, relative to the income level (top 1 percent) and poverty rate (0 percent) of NFL players, the domestic violence arrest rate is downright extraordinary.
Without Consequence: When Professional Athletes Are Violent Off the Field B ethany P. Withers (HLS ’10) examines league treatment of MLB, NBA, and NFL players who have been accused of domestic violence or sexual assault.
In cases of sexual abuse or domestic violence, according to the player code of conduct, players must be evaluated by a neutral expert – though they can be separately disciplined. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, SEXUAL ASSAULT, AND ELITE ATHLETES 3 Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, Elite and Athletes: Analyzing Arrest and Conviction Rates Throughout America, the evidence of rape culture is omnipresent.
From even before birth, boys are expected to be dominant members of society while women are expected to .