The Assault Issue in the NFL


Mason Rudolph (left) and Miles Garrett (right). Image from Forbes

Mackenzie Shannon, Staff Writer

Football is a violent sport.

The NFL has created a system that protects its players on the field through penalties, fines, and suspensions. The NFL takes unnecessary violence seriously, but has shown to be inconsistent when it comes to these rulings.

At the end of the Cleveland Browns game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on November 14, 2019, Myles Garrett and Mason Rudolph got into an altercation. Garrett ripped off Rudolph’s helmet and helmetless, Rudolph then charged Garrett who swung the helmet hitting Rudolph in the head. As a result, Garrett was suspended indefinitely for the season  -without pay- and there were rumors that Rudolph could press assault charges.

I am in no way defending Garrett’s actions. What he did was inexcusable and he deserves to face the consequences for his actions. 

My biggest issue is how the NFL can suspend Garrett indefinitely for the season for one outburst of assault, but continues to allow players to play after being accused of domestic violence?

So often NFL players are accused of domestic violence against their girlfriends, wives, and children, but still get the opportunity to play in the NFL.

In 2018, Kareem Hunt had been involved in several incidents of assault. In January of that year, a police report was filed against Hunt for assaulting people in a nightclub. In February, surveillance footage showed Hunt shoving a woman in the hallway of a hotel multiple times.

Hunt was cut from the Kansas City Chiefs in November of 2018 after footage of him attacking a woman in February was released. The League placed Hunt on the commissioner’s exempt list, which allowed him to continue to get paid but not attend practices or games. He was later signed by the Browns, but faced an eight-game suspension at the start of the 2019 season because he was involved in an altercation in June which involved him punching a man.

In 2016, Giants’ kicker Josh Brown was suspended for one game because it was believed that he committed one act of violence against his wife.

In 2018, Reuben Foster was released by the San Francisco 49ers following an arrest for domestic violence, but was later signed by the Washington Redskins.

These are just a few of the cases in which the NFL has continued to allow players to play and get paid after domestic violence charges. Garrett had one incidence on the field which suspended him without pay for the rest of the season. 

How can the NFL justify these rulings when they cannot do the same for players who commit crimes?

The NFL needs to hold all of its players to the same standard, regardless if the event happens on or off the field. The NFL needs to start protecting women as much as it protects the players who play the game.