Does Race Factor Into The NFL Domestic Violence Issues?

This whole NFL domestic violence story does not seem to want to go away. I guess as long as there is a season and more players left, there will be more angles to this news. But there is one angle that seems to be ignored although it is like the white elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about, at least in public.

Here is a list of the names of the most prominent cases of NFL players behaving very badly:

Adrian Peterson - Minnesota Vikings running back arrested for possible child abuse for overdoing it while disciplining his child. Suspended from playing.

Ray Rice - Baltimore Ravens running back arrested for domestic violence and seen in that now infamous elevator video punching his wife in the face. Suspended from playing.

Ray McDonald - San Francisco 49ers defensive end arrested for domestic violence stemming from an incident involving an August arrest. Continues to play with the team as the team says they want to wait and see the outcome of the case.

Greg Hardy - The Carolina Panthers’ defensive end is on paid leave. He was convicted in July of assault on a female and communicating threats against her after he allegedly threw her in the bathtub and onto a sofa covered with guns before threatening to kill her.

Jonathan Dwyer - Arizona Cardinals running back was arrested this month after being accused of breaking his wife’s nose after she refused his sexual advances. He is also alleged to have punched her in the face the next day.

These are the cases that have made news in the past months. One thing that sticks out:

They are all black.

It begs the avoided question: Are black pro football players simply more prone to violent behavior?

My simple answer is of course not.

Despite the way it looks, which does feed into the stereotype of black men being inherently prone to violence, these are simply cases of football players carrying the aggression their sport requires over into the real world. These guys are used to hitting and being hit. They are used to using their emotions to make things happen. And they are certainly used to being coddled since all were stars on the field.

This isn’t a black issue. It is an NFL issue. And as I said before the sport is dominated by black stars. According to one report, nearly 70% of NFL players are black. That really stands out when blacks make up 11% of the U.S. population. While the players mentioned above have made the news, you can bet there are other non-black players with issues. They just haven’t been caught yet. And more importantly, let’s not paint all players, and black players especially, with such a broad brush anyway. We are talking about five cases at the moment. There are nearly 1,700 players in the NFL.

The NFL surely has issues when it comes to dealing with off-the-field behavior. America in general has an issue with domestic violence and it crosses all ethnic lines. Let’s free the elephant from the room. There is nothing here this time.


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