Save the hitting for the field

Well, bless their hearts, they just can’t seem to keep their hands to themselves.

That’s the polite way of saying that the ever-growing list of allegedly abusive NFL players need to find more productive uses for their hands other than beating people before one of their victims decides to fight back and go all Burning Bed on them like Francine Hughes did her husband Mickey in 1977 after suffering through 13 years of domestic violence at his hands.

But that’s about as nice a way for me to put it without spewing a stream of obscenities because, believe me, I can think of plenty right now that would pin your ears back in all of their nasty eloquence.

Some cases do reach that extreme, though, when the victims decide they’ve had enough of being knocked around day after day after day.

In Francine Hughes’ case, she ushered her kids out of their house, poured gasoline around the bed in which her husband was sleeping and — once the home was engulfed in flames — drove to her local police station in Michigan to confess what she’d done. She later was found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity for killing her husband.

I’m not at all condoning what she did — you’re damn right it’s wrong — merely pointing out just how vicious the cycle of abuse can be when victims see no other way out.

But when a victim’s abuser is a professional football player, the NFL’s sneaky ‘sweep-it-under-the-rug’ policies and ridiculously comedic ‘timeout’ types of punishments have served the league well in protecting its precious image for who knows how long.

Until recently, that is, when celebrity news Web site TMZ on Sept. 8 released a video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice clocking then-fiancé Janay Palmer earlier this year. The NFL claimed it never saw the tape because it wasn’t made available to the league by law enforcement, but several reliable sources have stated otherwise. Rice originally was suspended for two games until that video went public, and we all know what happened afterward. If you don’t, you must be living under a rock in the middle of nowhere.

I’m betting we’ll never hear the proverbial swishing of THAT particular NFL broom again.

Still, all I can do at this point is shake my head.

Especially when news broke Wednesday of yet another player being arrested on domestic violence charges among the NFL’s quickly tarnishing ranks.

Arizona Cardinals backup running back Jonathan Dwyer is the fifth player that we’ve learned about in the past 11 days alleged to have committed acts of violence or been convicted of it in recent months. Dwyer was pulled from practice for police questioning and subsequently arrested on several charges, including aggravated assault causing a fracture, aggravated assault involving a minor, criminal damage and preventing the use of a phone in an emergency (meaning he kept his victim from calling 911).

These charges stem from two alleged domestic violence incidents that occurred at Dwyer’s home in July, involving his wife and their now 18-month-old son. His wife came forward to give Phoenix police information about her injuries, as well as text messages, this past week despite moving out of state with their son at an earlier unknown date following the events of July.

Good for her for not having the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. Who knows? Perhaps seeing the video of Ray Rice punching now-wife Janay Palmer Rice into unconsciousness gave her the courage she needed to break her silence. I could be wrong, but I’d like to think some good has come out of something so horrifying.

Dwyer, meanwhile, joins the disgraced likes of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson (child abuse charges), Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy (convicted on two counts of domestic violence), San Francisco 49ers defensive end Ray McDonald (currently under investigation for domestic violence allegations) and Rice (wag of the finger, er, pretrial diversion program for punching out a woman he professes to love).

I don’t know about you, but that’s one team I won’t ever be rooting for — on OR off the gridiron.

Dwyer has been deactivated, Peterson and Hardy still are raking in their millions after being placed on the NFL’s exempt/commissioner’s permission list until their legal issues are resolved, Rice is jobless — for now — and McDonald still is playing. Also for now. I got a good laugh after learning that the NFL Player Personnel Policy Manual describes the league’s exempt list as — and I quote — “special player status available to clubs only in unusual circumstances.”

Did you roll on the floor laughing your ass off like I just did? I thought you’d get a kick out of that.

Seems to me — sadly enough — that there’s nothing at all unusual about these kinds of circumstances in the NFL anymore.

C’mon, guys, smarten up. Save the “hitting” for the football field.


3 thoughts on “Save the hitting for the field

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