NFL Background Check Expansion Highlights Issue of Violence in Society
This year, the NFL draft had a broader focus than simply recruiting elite college players from around the country. The league wanted to send a message to its prospective players and the national community about the its expansion of background checks on all attendees of the draft: violent behavior is a serious issue and will be treated with severity by the NFL.
All attendees of the 2015 NFL draft were subject to extensive background checks that focused on violent behavior. Any draft pick found with a record of criminal violence was subject to further screenings. A history of violent behavior does not necessarily prohibit a player from being drafted onto an NFL team, but any candidate with a violent record will have his individual situation assessed with the prospect of recommended counseling upon entering the league. NFL administration has provided all teams with the tools and information they need to help draft picks with violent histories to adhere to the NFL’s intolerant standard of violence.
Players who attended the NFL draft were required to attend a domestic violence and sexual assault session. The NFL wants to inundate new players with the key role they can play in advocating against domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse through outstanding personal conduct and community outreach. These players play a societal role just as much as they play an important role on the field.
The NFL’s new focus on eliminating violent behavior in its prospective and current athletes is a partial result of past controversies in prominent players like Ray Rice, who was caught on film in an aggravated assault against his then fiancee, now current wife. Rice lost his contract at the time, but is still allowed to play in the NFL for any team who is willing to contract him as a free agent.
Conducting thorough background searches on their prospective athletes and educating them on the seriousness of violent behavior assists NFL players in conducting themselves properly and avoiding any legal issues. More importantly, the NFL’s new stance on eliminating violent behavior in the league highlights the issue of violent behavior in society, particularly in the domestic sector. These problems may have a greater promise for change with major organizations like the NFL behind them.