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Sports Then and Now



What the NFL’s Response to Domestic Violence Has Shown Us 0

Posted on May 26, 2015 by Brooke Chaplan
Roger Goodell and the NFL have been very inconsistent in dealing with domestic violence.

Roger Goodell and the NFL have been very inconsistent in dealing with domestic violence.

The NFL’s response to charges of domestic violence by players in recent years has shown us that things are not as simple as they may appear on the surface. The role the NFL can and should play in dealing with this issue is hotly debated.

What the Issues Are
James Knox, an attorney who specializes in domestic violence cases in California with Milligan, Beswick, Levine & Knox, LLP, discussed the issue on the law firm’s website recently. Knox brings up that domestic violence laws vary from state to state. Since the NFL is a national organization dealing with teams in 22 states, it is difficult for them to enforce a one-size-fits-all policy. Not surprisingly, the NFL hasn’t even tried to apply a standard response to situations. Instead they seem to be as arbitrary as the prosecutors that Knox mentions who address domestic violence when it is a popular topic of outrage and practically ignore it otherwise.
Because of so many high-profile cases in the last few years, the NFL has funneled money into No More, a corporate-sponsored branding campaign whose Super Bowl PSA was widely critiqued for failing to address prevention efforts. It simply isn’t enough to throw money at awareness campaigns that focus on the aftermath of violence, while doing nothing to stop players and fans from engaging in the behavior to begin with. The tendency to be reactive rather than proactive has been the hallmark of the NFL’s responses overall, and that is exactly what is wrong with the situation today.

What the Situation Is
As an employment issue, domestic violence lawyers in Sacramento might say the NFL needs to be thoughtful of the steps they take. Employers cannot discriminate against employees by disciplining them based on allegations or enact disparate discipline on different employees for the same or similar actions. For this reason alone, the NFL should tread lightly in getting involved in allegations that have no bearing on the ability of players to do their job, which is to play ball. Read the rest of this entry →

Pittsburgh Steelers Miss the Point in Battle With Roger Goodell 11

Posted on August 06, 2011 by Dean Hybl

James Harrison and the Pittsburgh Steelers aren't happy with the NFL's policy for fines on illegal hits.

For decades, the Pittsburgh Steelers have used the squeaky image of the Rooney family to portray itself as the blue-collar franchise of the NFL and a team filled with hard-working every-day players. Based on their recent vote on the collective bargaining agreement, it could be argued that the Pittsburgh players are instead actually a bunch of self-absorbed thugs.

Unlike the other 31 teams, the Steelers decided that they would vote as a team against the agreement because they didn’t like that it wouldn’t significantly alter the way in which fines and punishments are administered across the NFL for illegal hits or for violations of the personal conduct policy.

The primary reason for their displeasure is that Commissioner Roger Goodell has been very stern in recent years and doesn’t play favorites.

In recent years, Pittsburgh players have been among the most fined in the NFL for hits deemed to be dangerous and beyond normal levels of physicality. Most notably, linebacker James Harrison was fined four times for $100,000 in 2010 for illegal hits.

Granted that football is generally a violent game, but there are some hits that are without question made not to tackle an opposing player, but instead to try as much as possible to inflict bodily harm on them.

The NFL has been trying in recent years to reduce those kinds of hits and make the game safer. Some of their new rules, especially those related to a quarterback, may go a bit too far, but those designed to stop helmet-to-helmet hits and to protect a defenseless player have been a positive step.

In the recent labor agreement, a big issue for the players was health and safety. They bargained for a reduction in off-season, pre-season and in-season practices under the guise that fewer practices where the players are in pads and hitting each other will help prolong careers.

Having a strong policy against illegal hits would seem to be another valuable tool in trying to make the game safer. However, for players like Harrison, who play at a reckless level, the fines and punishment is seen as a hindrance to their ability to be successful. Read the rest of this entry →

Memo to NFL Owners and Players: ENOUGH ALREADY! 1

Posted on July 22, 2011 by Dean Hybl

The owners announced that an agreement had been reached in the NFL labor talks, but evidently the players didn't quite agree.

The general consensus during the five month long NFL lockout has been that if the two sides end up with a deal that doesn’t result in the loss of games, then there will be no lingering side effects and the two sides can go back to playing football and counting their billions in revenue.

After the shenanigans on both sides over the last 24 hours, that may have changed, at least for the short term.

We have been continuously told over the last week or more that the financial framework of a new deal had been agreed upon and the two sides and their lawyers were now just finalizing other secondary aspects of the deal.

The timeline consistently being presented through the media was that the players’ representatives (no longer known as a union) would vote on the agreement early in the week and the owners were to meet and agree on July 21st.

Then suddenly things started to get bogged down and pushed back.

Finally, on Thursday the owners met as expected and approved the agreement. Expectation originally was that the players would be doing the same thing, but that soon changed.

It still isn’t clear exactly what, if anything, is a real issue hanging up the final end to an off-season that no fan wants to ever again endure. However, it is starting to appear that egos and a last chance of one-upmanship is the reason that a final agreement hasn’t yet been approved by the players.

Read the rest of this entry →

NFL Draft Is Fulfillment of A Dream For New Pros 5

Posted on April 24, 2010 by Dean Hybl
Pittsburgh Steelers fan Zachary Hatfield got to fulfill a dream by announcing the first round draft pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pittsburgh Steelers fan Zachary Hatfield got to fulfill a dream by announcing the first round pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

I will admit that when I heard that the NFL Draft was going to three days and moving to prime time I rolled my eyes and thought they had really jumped the shark. However, after watching most of the “action” over the last two days, I now realize that rather than reaching a point of over-exposure, the NFL has turned an already great event into something even better.

When it was first shown on Sunday afternoons and then moved to Saturday, the NFL Draft on ESPN was always interesting to see some of the inner-workings of the NFL. Even though no team technically won or lost during the draft, over the years it developed over a “must see” event for football fans.

However, by the middle of the last decade, the first round had gone from being exciting to being excruciating. With each team usually taking their 15-minute allotment, the first round dragged on for between five and six hours and even the most loyal fans had a hard time staying engaged for the entire first round.

As they generally do, the NFL and ESPN recognized what they needed to do to make their prize event even better and a couple years ago reduced the time between picks and made the draft a two day event. That helped speed up the first round and make many wives across the country football widows for an entire weekend in April. Read the rest of this entry →

Let The Circus Begin: Michael Vick Signs With the Eagles 0

Posted on August 13, 2009 by Dean Hybl
The smile may finally return to Michael Vick's face now that he has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The smile may finally return to Michael Vick's face now that he has signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.

A team with a long tradition of mobile quarterbacks has added another one to the mix with the signing of Michael Vick by the Philadelphia Eagles.

Of course, the return of Vick to the NFL means the circus will be headed to Philadelphia for at least the next few days as the former top pick has become one of the more polarizing figures in the league following his conviction in 2007 on charges of conspiracy and running a dog-fighting operation.

Vick last played in the NFL in 2006 with the Atlanta Falcons, which originally made him the top pick in the NFL in 2001.

Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

    • Rocky Colavito: Super Slugger
      March 30, 2020 | 7:24 pm
      Rocky Colavito

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was just the fifth player in Major League Baseball history to have 11 straight seasons with 20 or more home runs, yet could not sustain that greatness long enough to earn a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

      In some sense, the legend of Rocco “Rocky” Colavito Jr. began long before he ever started pounding home runs at the major league level.

      Born and raised as a New York Yankees fan in The Bronx, Colavito was playing semipro baseball before he was a teenager and dropped out of high school at 16 after his sophomore year to pursue a professional career. The major league rule at the time said a player could not sign with a pro team until his high school class graduated, but after sitting out for one year, Colavito was allowed to sign at age 17.

      Read more »

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