Avon, Ohio police released dashcam footage and 911 audio recordings of NFL player Johnny Manziel admitting to grabbing girlfriend Colleen Crowley during an argument while they were driving on an interstate highway.
She can be heard telling the cops on a video that Manziel "hit me a couple times" and "I'm in fear for my life."
Both of them were later questioned by the police, but the quarterback for the Cleveland Browns was not arrested and Crowley did not press charges.
The Associated Press reports the incident could lead to punishment from the NFL, but – as recent history suggests – the football league is not keen on punishing players accused of crimes as serious as domestic abuse.
Last year Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice managed to avoid any legal repercussions for a good seven months for beating up his wife Janay Palmer.
It was only after the case prompted media outrage that the NFL bothered to announce severe punishments for domestic violence incidents. However, even that proved weak and useless.
For instance, Ray McDonald, defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, was arrested in July and charged with felony domestic violence in August. But McDonald is still playing, because his coach Jim Harbaugh said “the way the facts are and what’s known, he has the liberty to play in the game.”
Despite staggering cases of violent behavior by NFL athletes, Allison McCann of FiveThirtyEight discovered that the football association doesn’t keep track of how, when and why a player is suspended.
All of this essentially means that even if Crowley’s claims against Manziel hitting her turn out to be true, it will not make much of a difference. The NFL as an association needs to revise its old polices, adopt a more direct approach with players and let all athletes and coaches know that zero tolerance against violence means the end of an NFL career.