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NFL & Domestic Violence: The PR Silver Lining to Its Black Cloud
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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The dream of running the most influential sports organization on the planet has become a nightmare for NFL Commissioner (for now) Roger Goodell.

What should be noted is that it didn't begin with Ray Rice delivering a left cross to his then-fiancée, now-wife in a casino elevator. Domestic violence has been a thing for decades in the NFL. Ray Rice's act of cowardice and setting chivalry back to the Dark Ages was just the proverbial straw that broke the back of the NFL. And now, there is a PR ess-storm that has reached tornadic F-5 status — for which, in a very small and strange way, we should be grateful. 

Wait, what?! 

In the NFL, there are 32 teams. Out of that gaggle of overly paid boys with toys, 21 of those teams have players who faced domestic or sexual assault charges. There are reports that date back to the 1950s of players who have been taught to be as violent as possible in order to be successful who can't find the switch that reads "OFF" when they get home. And until now, nothing has ever been done about this pandemic situation. In a league that pinkwashes its players to support women fighting death in October, we have some men being coddled in the league who beat women close to death throughout the year. 

Most recently, we have the Carolina Panthers' Greg Hardy, who has been convicted of choking his girlfriend with both hands on a couch laden with assault rifles. That was in July and he was benched...last week. The Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson has been indicted for beating down his four-year-old son, who is "afraid Daddy Peterson will punch [me] in the mouth." Last month, San Francisco 49ers' Ray McDonald was arrested for hitting his pregnant girlfriend. Even Rihanna, a victim of domestic violence, had a pregame show cancelled before the ironically scheduled Baltimore Ravens' game because of the hoopla. And then there's Ray Rice and his Napoleonic complex. 

So why a shade of thankfulness? We are talking about it, and throughout the history of man, change happens when people begin talking. 

Whether Roger Goodell should lose his job for chronic lying, consistent enabling, and apathetic doing, is up to people above my pay grade. However, if there are any PR pros worth their salary in the NFL, they will have this conversation extended and make a difference! The NFL needs it. The players warrant it. And the women of the NFL deserve it. You know, finally. Trust me, if this happens, someone you know affected by domestic violence will be thanking the NFL for it. 

Stranger things have happened. 

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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