It’s time for the NFL to start paying for Videos

The NFL can no longer plead ignorance… maybe they could in the Ray Rice case, but that time has long since passed. Nearly five years have passed since the NFL butchered their investigation attempt and badly misread the public response to the disciplining (or lack there) of one of their most popular players.

During the NFL’s investigation they talked to Ray Rice and his wife, felt like they had the whole story, and then proceeded to trot them out to the media as a united front. It was supposed to be an example of how to quietly handle domestic violence between two adults…. and it almost worked. That was until the emergence of the hotel video which left the American public horrified.

 

It’s amazing how the perception changed after watching the abuse play out digitally. No longer was it left to the imagination. However, I’m not sure you need much imagination to understand what the result would be of a highly trained, explosive athlete unloading on a woman that is giving up around 100 lbs. Every Sunday America watches grown men knock other grown men to the ground, the video outcome shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

 

The problem is that the NFL knew about the video (allegedly had it in their office) and chose not to pursue it to the fullest extent. Granted the NFL isn’t a law enforcement agency, so they don’t have subpoena power, but they are a group of 32 billionaires who know how to vet any situation….not to mention have bottomless pockets.

 

There is no reason why the NFL doesn’t chase down every alleged accusation as if their existence depended on it… because essentially it should. Sports are entertainment, and like it or not are governed by public perception.

 

Its utterly embarrassing that the the Kansas City Chiefs and NFL took the word of Kareem Hunt and didn’t follow up with an extensive investigation. Sure they made some obligatory phone calls, but never truly pursued the truth of what transpired in that Cleveland hotel.

 

They simply believed a young man attempting to save his career… In what world would he not paint the rosiest picture for himself?

 

I don’t blame Kareem Hunt for downplaying his actions (even though they are reprehensible) it was his act of self preservation. It is the NFL’s fault (and job) to find the actual truth.

 

But instead they allow TMZ to do their dirty work and then act surprised when a video was released. A part of me thinks they are just hoping some of the videos never surface and they won’t have to deal with them. However when pressed about paying for videos the NFL’s Chief Disciplinary Officer B. Todd Jones answered:

 

“I think that is not likely at all, for a number of reasons,” Jones said regarding the possibility of paying for videos. “Not the least of which is you all have a journalistic privilege, you all have First Amendment protections. You all can get information from sources and wrap it up in sort of like sources . . . we don’t have that luxury. To become mercenary and pay for videos opens up a Pandora’s box of all kinds of opportunities and things that may come to us from not just surveillance video in public places or surveillance video in residences, but you’re talking about the world of social media and everybody on a smart phone as TMZ’s in the business of doing, is buying people’s smart phone snippets for a fee, and the NFL’s not going there.”

 

This is almost as embarrassing as the NFL saying they can’t afford to pay for videos. Either they are admitting they would cost too much to follow up on or they aren’t smart enough discern real versus erroneous evidence.

 

Next are the Commissioner’s comments:

“We don’t pay for video evidence,” Goodell said. “That’s not appropriate for a league or organization to do that.”

“We’re not going to do it by corrupting people or trying to bribe them to give us video. That’s not what we do,

Corruption? Bribes? It’s simply paying for an exchange of information… and who cares if it’s “appropriate.” If you care about finding the truth and really cleaning up your league Roger, you need to do what it takes. Quit acting like you’re above paying for a video because it would ruin the moral fabric of the NFL or society. That’s the easy excuse for a league that would rather turn a blind eye.

 

The bottom line is the NFL has an endless supply of financial and human resources. They employ a bevy of local, state, and federal former law enforcement officials who have connections and contacts that seem to exist only in movies. There is no reason the NFL doesn’t have all the information they need to make a decision prior to the legal process playing out. They found enough evidence to sack Cowboys running back Zeke Elliot last season, but he was a high profile figure who could serve as an example about how the NFL has toughened its stance on domestic violence.

 

The reality of the Kareem Hunt situation proves the NFL really just doesn’t care.

 

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