NHL shows NFL how to handle domestic abuse

After the major scandal that was the Ray Rice domestic violence fiasco occurred and the National Football League administration had to answer for their inaction, all the NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell could offer in his moment of crisis was, “I will get it right.”

On Monday, National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman delivered a right hook Ray Rice style to Goodell.

By suspending Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov before most of the hockey world knew of his his arrest for domestic violence, Bettman proved that a major sporting league can at least get the optics right on the issue. In doing so, it tore up any last strain of credibility that Goodell previously clung to.

The NHL suspended Voynov by lunchtime on Monday, just over 12 hours after the incident occurred. Not only is it possible for justice to move swiftly in these cases, but a sports league can absoluletly make a transparent and appropriate decision before inaction turns into scandal.

In the press release, the NHL sites the exact section, subdivision and clause that gives the league the power to suspend the two time Stanley Cup winner. The NFL had to pull new policies out of its behind and launch an "internal investigation” to find the genesis of a single video recording.

Due to the bumbling mistakes made by Goodell, Bettman was able to immediately push the focus of the situation towards prevention and aid to the victims of domestic violence.

“More importantly we focus on counseling and education, and in the joint programs we have with the Players’ Association we’ve been counseling and educating on domestic violence for more than a decade,” Bettman said prior to the King’s banner raising ceremony this month.

However, Bettman indicated that his house is far from spotless when he spoke of NFL domestic violence scandals, "Our players know what’s right and wrong...we have the mechanisms in place to hopefully not get to that point.”

It was not more than a year ago when a goaltender of the Colorado Avalanche, Semyan Varlomov arrested for similar charges that were eventually dropped. He was still allowed to play for the team, however, and put back on the ice by head coach Patrick Roy.

Deputy Commissoner Bill Daley noted that “Circumstances were different" for the Varlomov case.

It's obvious, though, that the Goodellian levels of stupidity provided a perfect example of what not to do. That's the "different circumstance" between the Varlomov and Voynov domestic violence cases.

But at least Bettman did what was right while Goodell still can’t figure out which way is up.

As long as Ray MacDonald, defensive end for the San Francisco 49ers, is still allowed to play on an NFL field, Rodger is still getting it wrong.

For that, he should be fired.

He cannot walk away from this with even so much as a good bye from the league.
The NFL could use a commissioner with a modicum of common sense and conscience. My suggestion, Gary Bettman.

SportsJames PowelComment