The Department of NFL Justice

David Post writes:

The public clamor for the NFL to “do more” when confronted by evidence of serious wrongdoing in the cases of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, and an unfortunately large number of other cases strikes me as very troubling, and reflective of this view, apparently pretty widespread, that we can’t count on the legal system to mete out appropriate punishment in a reasonable way. We have a criminal law, one would think, to define behavior that we cannot accept as a society, and to identify and punish those who violate those norms. Many people, though, seem to want the NFL, and/or the individual NFL teams, to take over that function. It’s a kind of privatization of a public function, and, extended more broadly, its costs might be much higher than we think. Do we really think it would be a such a good idea if Microsoft, say, or General Electric, or Wal-Mart, or Amazon, or other large private employers started instituting “codes of conduct” governing employee behavior outside of work time? And if they started firing people because they received a video showing them behaving unlawfully, even heinously? And let’s see, whose interests do we think the NFL’s process for determining punishment is going to serve – the public’s? Or the NFL’s?

His full post is available here.

NFL Quick Hits 2013: Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson’s headline-making 2012 season– he ran for 2,097 yards and averaged 6.0 yards per carry– was even more remarkable in context: he had torn his ACL and MCL in December 2011, yet he was starting for the Vikings on week one of the 2012 season, a mere nine months after the injury. When he did return, he had the best season of his career. Ordinarily, players require a full twelve months of recovery following surgery to repair torn knee ligament. When they do return, their production usually decreases. Peterson was a startling exception on both fronts. Peterson’s recovery was so remarkable, many fans described him as superhuman, while others, along with one Detroit linebacker, were asking whether there might be some other reason for his surprising return. Peterson told that linebacker last season and the rest of us this week: “I’m juicing on the blood of Jesus. Faith is what got me to this point.” It isn’t easy to talk about religion in the sports world, and I’ve touched on it only briefly here, but from a purely conversational/presentational perspective, Peterson needs a response to the question, “Are you juicing?” that does not recall President George W. Bush’s groaner of a response to a question about whether he was turning to a “Plan B” in Iraq: “Actually, I would call that a plan recommended by Baker-Hamilton, so it would be a Plan B-H.” When it comes to answering to opposing linebackers this season, Peterson probably should just let his knees, however reformed, do the talking.

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Ziggy Ansah