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Surely, not. Sometimes things happen that propel a palm to your head. You just ask aloud, “Really?”
With the brightest of spotlights on the NFL – and its handling of domestic violence issues threatening to tarnish the shield that represents the most profitable and popular sports league in the country – you’d think the nation’s pro football players would be on their best behavior.
So, it sparks a little incredulity when – on the heels of five players’ arrests, the indefinite suspension of a premier running back and the deactivation of two of the NFL’s biggest stars – yet another NFL player is alleged to have exacted violence against loved ones.
The bad news kept piling on the National Football League on Wednesday with the arrest of an Arizona Cardinals player.
Jonathan Dwyer walked off the Arizona Cardinals’ practice field and into the backseat of a Phoenix police cruiser after multiple allegations of felony assault.
It was the latest public relations blow for the most popular sports league in America, which has been the subject of public scorn and scrutiny after half a dozen players recently got into trouble or were disciplined.
Here is a quick look at those players and their travails.
One of the top players in the NFL, he left the Minnesota Vikings on Wednesday to deal with child abuse accusations in Texas. Peterson had been deactivated by the Vikings and missed Sunday’s game, then reactivated Monday. But the team said it needed to correct its mistake and deactivated him again.
Peterson then took a leave of absence and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell placed him on the exempt list, which gives the team the opportunity to continue to pay him while he deals with his legal issues. At no point has Peterson been suspended.
The Carolina Panthers’ defensive star also took a leave of absence because of legal troubles. As with Peterson, Hardy will be paid while he is away from the team. Hardy was convicted by a judge in July on misdemeanor assault charges. He asked for a new trial in front of a jury, which is scheduled for mid-November. Hardy played one game then was deactivated as the outrage against the NFL grew over how it was dealing with domestic violence issues.
He has proclaimed his innocence of the charges, which were filed after police said he assaulted his then-girlfriend and threatened to kill her. He was sentenced to 18 months probation and a 60-day suspended
The most recent player to be arrested, the running back is alleged to have assaulted a 27-year-old woman and an 18-month-old child. A Phoenix police spokesman, Sgt. Trent Crump, said it would be reckless to identify the victims. Dwyer, 25, was spending Wednesday night in the Maricopa County jail and the Arizona Cardinals deactivated him. He won’t be able to take part in any team activities, if he is released from jail. Crump said two incidents were reported by neighbors in July.
Dwyer posted bond and was released from jail Thursday after a judge set a $25,000 “cash-only” bond and required him to wear an electronic monitoring device and abide by a curfew. He won’t be able to take part in any team activities after his release.
The woman didn’t allege any violence until last week when she called from another state, where she had moved with the child. The most serious of six charges were three counts of assault, one of which caused a fracture. Dwyer was being held in the Maricopa County Jail and couldn’t comment. CNN’s attempt to reach his agent was unsuccessful.
The running back without a team is appealing his indefinite suspension by the league. While Rice has called punching his future wife in the head and knocking her out “inexcusable,” he is seeking to have the opportunity to play in the NFL again. The players’ union has complained that Rice didn’t receive due process from Goodell, who suspended him in June to a two-game ban, then increased the penalty to an indefinite suspension. That came earlier this month after TMZ Sports posted a video that showed the punch.
Rice was three days away from completing the original suspension when the indefinite ban was handed down and when the Baltimore Ravens terminated his contract.
Three days after Goodell created a new NFL policy against domestic violence on August 28, San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested on an accusation of felony domestic violence. The new policy imposes a minimum six-game unpaid ban for first-time offenders and up to a lifetime ban for second-time offenders.
No charges have been filed in the incident involving McDonald. Neither the team nor the league has levied any discipline in the case and the starter at left defensive tackle played the first two games of the season.
The Jets practice squad player’s arrest went practically overlooked outside of the New York area. According to USA Today’s “NFL Players Arrests” tracker, he was arrested September 4.
Enunwa was charged with simple assault after a woman told police he pulled her off a bed at a hotel, causing her a head injury, ESPNNewYork.com reported. He pleaded not guilty, ESPN said, adding that the player was still practicing with the team.