NFL failed to follow policy in punishing violent offenses, according to study

National Sports
Roger Goodell

FILE – In this Jan. 29, 2020, file photo, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell answers a question during a news conference for the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game in Miami. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A study done by the University of Arkansas shows from 2010 to 2019, the National Football League did not follow its own personal conduct policies in punishing players who committed violent acts, including ones against women.

According to a news release, researchers at the university studied 176 players who violated policies and found those who committed “general violence” received less than a third of the minimum requirement for number of games suspended.

However, in cases where violent acts were committed against women, the players involved received longer suspensions, but the number of games was still smaller than the league minimum, the study says.

“We don’t wish to draw attention away from violence specific to women, but our findings, we think, suggest that the league has less of a problem in this area and more of a problem addressing violent behavior in general,” said Jacquelyn Wiersma-Mosley, professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Arkansas.

The study finds that the league is actually more strict on drug crimes than general acts of violence.

The four types of violations in league policies are violence of any kind against women, general violent behaviors, drug-related offenses and minor sports-related infractions, such as missing a team meeting.

According to the release, more than half of the violations were violent offenses.

“There was surprisingly little empirical research out there on violence against women in the NFL and whether the league holds players accountable for it,” Wiersma-Mosley said. “Finding that it doesn’t was less surprising than discovering how little the league punishes players for general violence.”

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