While public outrage (rightly) continues unabated regarding the NFL's handling of the domestic abuse by its players of wives, girlfriends, and children, ratings for the actual football games remain at record highs. A populace that expresses its distaste for the actions of players like Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Adrian Peterson still dutifully tune in on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday night to watch their favorite teams.
So here's a modest proposal. Since the only thing the NFL seems to respond to is the bottom line (Radisson's decision to temporarily cut ties with the Vikings and a "sternly worded letter" from league sponsor Anheuser-Busch were both notable), do not watch the first 30 minutes of any NFL game, or the first quarter, or maybe even the first half. Let the NFL know that you can untether yourself from your TV screen and that their response to date has not been acceptable. Diminish the value of advertising dollars and let the sponsors apply their own form of pressure for change that may include:
- Roger Goodell's resignation.
- A clear "zero tolerance" policy for any form of domestic or child abuse. One strike and you're out.
- A fine of at least $1 million and the loss of draft picks levied against any team when one of its players is convicted (or pleads, a la Ray Rice) of any form of domestic or child abuse.
- Expanded access to treatment and counseling options for NFL personnel.
- A public service campaign related to domestic and child abuse.
I know many people, (including me), may not be able to turn away from football entirely, but absent a pinch in the bottom line, do not expect the NFL to react. Rather, it will wait for the outrage to cool and move on.
Those are my ideas, how about you?