In addition to Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Ray McDonald all in the recent past have been alleged to have committed crimes of domestic abuse or domestic violence. Why has it taken the NFL so long to recognize the magnitude and frequency of abuse charges among its players?
James Knox: I don’t know that I can answer that. To me, the issue regarding those issues really is one, it’s an employment issue. It’s the NFL and its players as employees of the league. I would believe if I were standing in the shoes of the NFL that they have to be very careful as far as, again, just initially disciplining a player based only on the allegation. And that’s the concern that I would have if we react too quickly to some of these cases.
For example, the Ray Rice case. There were, once he was originally arrested in the spring, I believe, earlier this year in 2014, it appears that his attorneys at the time gave a statement to the NFL very quickly. But the attorneys at the time probably had to be very careful on the statement they provided to the NFL because they can’t violate the attorney-client privilege. Any statements that Ray Rice gave to them are privileged. But at the same time, they’re trying to hold off the NFL from issuing any discipline against the player until all the facts in the criminal case have come out.
So the NFL at that juncture has to determine whether or not to take any discipline action but not violate the Constitutional rights that the player has not to make any statement that can be used to incriminate him in the criminal proceedings. So I could see the NFL’s position of holding back and not doing anything until the criminal case is resolved.
And essentially you’re seeing that now with Adrian Peterson with the exception of he’s been removed by his own team – not by the NFL – pending the outcome of the criminal case.