Commentary: NFL players, violence against women won’t be tolerated

Commentary: NFL players, violence against women won’t be tolerated
December 13
00:50 2018

By James B. Ewers Jr.

My parents had rules of decorum for me. I didn’t talk back to them for fear of a spanking experience. Yet there were times when my youthfulness got the better of me and I did talk back. Now the moment I did, I knew I had made an error in judgment. And, of course the result was either a stern lecture or a spanking. Both were all memorable because I was raised by an old school mama, and mama didn’t take no stuff.

Over time I have observed that acting a fool is simply not a youthful, indiscretion. It can happen to adults and they, too, can act a fool.

Like you, I watch the National Football League. On some teams there are men who make poor decisions off the field. In other words, they act a fool, especially in their relationships with women.

Ray Rice was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2008. He had a great career with them until Sept. 8, 2014 when he physically assaulted his fiancée, now wife, Janay Palmer in an Atlantic City casino.  Rice was released and hasn’t played football since the 2013 season.

Rice and Palmer are married, and they are presumably happy now. However, this act of aggression ruined his chances of playing football again. His career in the NFL is over, or is it? More about Ray Rice later.

Unfortunately, some might opine that the NFL these days and domestic violence are kindred spirits. Just recently, Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs and Reuben Foster of the San Francisco 49ers were embroiled in acts of aggression against women. Hunt and Foster have both been released by their former teams. Hunt has stated that the Chiefs were right in releasing him and he has offered apologies. Reports have surfaced that say Kareem Hunt has had some other negative encounters with women and his anger may be the major cause.

Reuben Foster is awaiting an opportunity to play for the Washington Redskins but has been placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, which means he can’t play or practice. Foster has physically abused his girlfriend on multiple occasions. Elissa Ennis, the girlfriend said, “I can’t believe somebody picked him up.” However, Doug Williams, Super Bowl champion and vice president of the Redskins, believes that Foster deserves another chance. It is my opinion that the term “another chance” depends upon your perspective. Assaulting women is a serious offense.

Now back to Ray Rice. The National Football League needs to hire him as a consultant to advise players about the evils associated with domestic violence and how it cost him his career. His message would resonate with current players.

I spoke with Johnny Rembert, former All-Pro linebacker with the New England Patriots about this issue. He said, “The NFL must hold its players to the highest of standards. Whether we like it or not, we are role models and cannot commit acts of violence against women and think they will go un-noticed.” Rembert, who played in Super Bowl XX and is on the Patriots’ All Decade team for the 80s at middle linebacker, added, “We must educate players about the consequences of assaulting women. If not, their careers will be cut short because the NFL will not tolerate bad behavior.”

NFL, it’s time to do something!

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at

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