Considering the recent reports about NFL players involved in cases of domestic violence and child abuse coming to light, it compels me to comment on several variables. And, it goes without saying, abuse in any context is always deplorable.
(1) As a physician, I never like to treat symptoms, but I do enjoy getting to the underlying disease causing all the problems. Accordingly, despite all the public cries to condemn the players involved, what I am not hearing are shouts that attempt to rectify the specific problems with specific individuals. (e.g. Does a couple need counseling? Is there an underlying issue, such as depression, that is the root cause of violent behavior?) If a man abuses his wife, how does stripping him of his means of providing for his family serve to solve the problem of abuse? I don’t believe playing in the NFL is the cause of deviant behavior, so why treat an occupation like it’s a disease? The case of Ray Rice, for example, represents one man abusing his wife, and then losing his job as a result. If another man abuses the relationship with his wife by looking at pornography, or verbally berating her, is that also grounds for termination? (After all, it’s the same logic). Wouldn’t efforts be better aimed at addressing the underlying issues, offering counseling, and initiating attempts to save and build up the marriage as opposed to persecuting it?
(2) When did the NFL become the designated judge in cases of moral indiscretion? The league is a sports organization that oversees a game where aggressive physical force is used against an opponent. Does anyone else not see the contradiction there?
(3) Ray Rice’s wife has never pressed charges, and she actually offered words of encouragement on social media. (True, this could indicate a woman who needs some form of support, but this gets back to the issues spoken of in ). But, in the case of adults, why does any person owe society or an external organization penance for an injustice committed against another person? If Ray Rice and his wife are resolving their issues, and reconciliation and forgiveness are in process, who are we to now go above their covenant of marriage and attempt to assign blame and cast judgment?
(4) Adrian Peterson has been accused of child abuse, and I will make no commentary on the specifics of the case. Yet I will say that in contemporary society, there is no distinction between abuse and discipline. The former is always wrong, where a parent with malevolent intent seeks to physically or emotionally harm a child to their own detriment; the latter is done out of a motivation of love for the child’s long-term well being so that they may know the appropriate path to take, and not get into trouble later on when there is no parent to protect them. In my home, my wife and I are in charge of our son. Therefore, I don’t accept mandates from other people on how to raise our child especially when they don’t take responsibility for him, nor are they capable to ascertain our parenting skills or the health of our parent-child covenant by one isolated incident. It crosses a very dangerous line into totalitarianism and authoritarianism when society deems what is “correct” child rearing and then judges everyone based on that standard. A village may indeed raise a child, but under my roof, the village ceases to exist. Furthermore, last time I checked, when it’s 3 a.m. and my child needs something, the village is nowhere to be found.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal