Is Betting Worse Than Sexual Assault?


James Force, Sports Editor

…well the NFL thinks so, Deshaun Watson, quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, has been suspended from play for a measly 11 games and fined the egregiously low 5 million dollars. The suspension was originally six games until the almost instantaneous pressure from fans caused them to appeal and get it extended.

Now this might not look so bad on the league, if it wasn’t for multiple things. One, Calvin Ridley, wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons, was suspended an entire season with the potential of more for betting on games while on the injury list. He was not participating in the games he was betting on, nor did he purposely throw games for his benefit, yet the NFL finds this a worse crime than sexually assaulting 24 women. Now all the cases were settled, but that does not change the fact that he is receiving a lesser punishment for an actual crime, while Calvin Ridley is having his pay taken and the ability to play the game he loves for a year or more for betting on games.

Deandre Hopkins, wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals, is another example of the discrepancies in the NFL’s punishment system. He was found with .1% of performance enhancing drugs in his system, and has been suspended six game for this. That means that before it was appealed, Deshaun Watson and Deandre Hopkins would have been banned for the same amount of games, even though I think everyone can agree that .1% of a substance is a lot softer of a crime than sexual assault. As previously stated, the suspension for Mr. Watson has been extended to 11 games, but the fact that the league would have treated these cases the same until the fans pressured them into changing it, shows the punishment system needs to be fixed.

This isn’t new to the NFL either. In the 2014 season, Ray Rice was banned a mere two games for domestic abuse. The league would go on to implement a rule stating that from then on first offenders of any sort of abuse would receive at least a 6-game suspension, and second time offenders would receive a life time ban. The fact that abuse of any kind isn’t treated as harshly as betting is baffling to most fans. If it was up to most football followers, I think that Deshaun would be suspended for a season or more with more than a 5 million dollar fine, especially since he just inked a contract giving him 44.9 million at the time of signing, and 230 million fully guaranteed. As a fan of the NFL, this is hard because I love football and to see it treat such serious issues as less than, especially implying betting is worse than sexual assault is very hard to deal with and I hope the NFL takes this as an opportunity to fix its terrible punishment system, and figure out a more fair way to handle issues that deal with these types of crimes.