||S P O R T S
NFL Deserves An ‘Indefinite Suspension’ Until Changes Are Made
Ray Rice is not the first NFL player to be charged with domestic abuse and, given trends, nor is he likely to be the last. Neither is he the first player to be convicted of a felony. But without public outcry, the NFL would have let him off with a short suspension. This needs to change. The NFL and other major sports organizations are averse to losing money because their star players are in jail. Negative publicity hurts the bottom line so it is better for everyone if the crime gets swept under the rug and made as quiet a deal as possible. Since January 2000, there have been at least 732 arrests and criminal cases of active NFL players, according to a database
kept by USA TODAY Sports. Some still play every week, facing little to no penalties besides a “slap on the wrist” fine or a brief suspension. They are protected from the reach of the law and are celebrated by their fans, regardless of previous indiscretions. At best, consequences are inconsistent. Some players, like Rice, are under ‘indefinite suspension,’ a sentence which could be theoretically waived at any time to let Rice play again. Others, like Brandon Marshall, who plays for the Chicago Bears and was convicted of domestic abuse, have been arrested and only received suspensions for a couple of games. Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, initially only gave Rice a two-game suspension. It wasn’t until TMZ Sports released the elevator security footage, that showed Rice knocking his then-fiancé, Janay Palmer,
unconscious, for anything to be done. Stiffer penalties and eventually suspension from the league were only proposed after public outrage over both the video and the league’s lack of response to it.
“We also need to demand better accountability from the league and its commissioners. Only then can we stop this vicious cycle, help protect the weak and set a better example for a new generation of players.” Instead of conducting ‘insiders’ only investigations into accused misdemeanors and felonies, the NFL should be trying to show that it is transparent and does not attempt to protect its players out of self-interest. It should encourage scrutiny from an outside, unbiased party. We need to stop the cycle of cover-up, exposé, public negtive reaction, and return to the
AHS Football Ranks Amongst Top Ten in State Roy Winston After suffering their only loss the first game of the season to Milton, the Raider Varsity football team has led a fall campaign to clinch a number one seed in the playoffs, an undefeated region record, a top ten state ranking, and possibly a rematch with the cross-town rival Eagles. This surge to the top places the Raiders at number four in class 6AAAAAA and number 41 overall in the state. Even though this is only Coach Jacob Nichols’ first year as the head football coach, he continues to improve the strong winning tradition of the team. “The biggest thing has been that there has not been a lot of huge change. In the short history of Alpharetta football there has been a great deal of change. It took a while to get the program solidified and moving in the right direction and has thrived in situations where change has been limited,” Nichols said. AHS beat Northview to clinch the region championship with a record of (8-1)
and is set to close the season versus North Forsyth and enter the playoffs as a number one seed with home field advantage. On offense, the Raiders have averaged 207.5 yards per game passing, 153.6 yards on the ground, 6.9 touchdowns and have posted 35.4 points a game. On the defensive side, Coach Daniel Devine has led the raiders to have the third best defense in Class 6AAAAAA. The defense has posted big numbers in the statistics column with twelve interceptions and twelve fumble recoveries while averaging 52.4 tackles and 3.4 sacks per game. “Our defense has been great all year. Physical, fast and everything you want to see out of your defense,” said Nichols. AHS teacher Jeff Cohen, the football team’s statistician, saw very interesting trends occurring throughout the season. “I see harder playing. As we are winning more, the players are realizing that the playoffs are within reach and they are more serious and playing harder,” Cohen said. This is a historical moment for the team in the region and in the state as the team contin-
status quo. For example, outrage over Michael Vick’s dog fighting flared up during the trial then waned only to flare up again when he got out of jail and began playing again. But now no one seems
ues to break multiple records and set themselves up for a very successful postseason. The Raiders have broken the single game rushing record twice with a strong performance versus Habersham Central 263 yards and a follow-up showing versus Centennial 289 yards. In addition, the Raiders are 4th in state in outscoring their opponents. AHS senior and football captain Cary Shirley understands Coach Nichols’ game plan going into the playoffs of getting focused and taking everything one week at a time. “We can’t have any distractions going into the playoffs knowing that we’re going to face our toughest opponents and the overall goal isn’t the region; it’s the state championship,” said Shirley. A major motivational factor this postseason is the possible opportunity of having a rematch with Milton in later rounds. “Our kids didn’t let that loss hang over our heads and be a black cloud for the rest of the season. They realize that if they take care of their business we’ll get another shot at them,” Nichols said.
to remember his transgressions. Every time, despite public protest, the NFL is never held truly accountable for failing to offer a proper investigation or adequate punishment. Viewing numbers may drop for a game or two but eventually they return to the same level as before. We need to demand better behavior from these athletes through well-defined and consis-
tent consequences. We also need to demand better accountability from the league and its commissioners. Only then can we stop this vicious cycle, help protect the weak and set a better example for a new generation of players. In an ideal world, the NFL would be proactive to ensure justice and would not wait for protests before taking action. The best way to demonstrate disapproval of current practices and implement a real change is to boycott watching and attending games. By hitting the commissioners and the league where it hurts, the bottom line, the NFL will have to realign its operations to match the values of the public. The NFL commands too big a presence in the lives of Americans to not demonstrate moral conscience when it comes to crimes committed by its members.
After a loss to Milton in the home opener, Coach Nichols talks to the team and reassures them of their performance. The Raiders could see a rematch with the number eight ranked Milton Eagles in the playoffs.
Correction: It has come to the attention of The Hook that an error was printed on page 16 of our previous issue. The dance performed by the Color Guard during the football game against Milton High School was misprinted. The dance was “The Mask” rather than “Silent Spring.”