In a move that only solidifies its misogynistic ways, the NFL punished Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater with a four-game suspension for violating the league's alcohol policy.
Prater isn't actually the story here; his punishment is. Once again, the NFL handed down a punishment stronger than the one Ray Rice received for beating his then-fiancee unconscious in an elevator.
Rice was suspended for two games only. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defended the punishment as "consistent."
"We have to remain consistent," he said earlier in August. "We can't just make up the discipline. It has to be consistent with other cases, and it was in this matter."
Prater, meanwhile, faced a season-long ban for drinking two drinks on vacation. That's right. He dared have a drink in the privacy of his home.
Prater was subject to the NFL's substance abuse policy after he was charged with DUI in 2011. Prater certainly isn't blameless; he had another DUI arrest in 2008. If the NFL wants to come down on players with a clear history of drunken driving, that's great.
But the league is content with these punishments -- possibly a full season ban for a couple of beers at home? Please. -- without addressing other very real problems.
Let's put this into perspective.
- Ray Rice knocks his fiancee out cold and is caught dragging her limp body from an elevator: two-game suspension.
- Cleveland Browns' Josh Gordon caught smoking pot in the offseason: season-long suspension.
- Dallas Cowboys' Orlando Scandrick caught using Molly: four-game suspension.
- Indianapolis Colts' Robert Mathis tested positive for performing-enhancing drugs: four-game suspension.
The list could continue with dozens of examples, but what's the point? Each one only confirms what the NFL is silently telling its players and society at large. Domestic abuse isn't as big a deal as drug use.
Indeed, The Denver Post counted nearly 700 NFL arrests since 2000, more than 80 of which were domestic violence related.
So don't worry about it. Go ahead, NFL players, smack some people around. You won't be out of action long -- if you even get punished at all.