Belfast Telegraph

Biting Back: Off-field activities should matter, also

By Jonathan Bradley

Business and pleasure, the grape and the grain, politics and religion; maybe we should add sport and morals to the list of things that don't mix.

The US National Football League generates an annual revenue of almost $10bn and is considered America's national pastime.

Even with its unmatched appeal, however, the last week has proved to be one of the worst experienced by both the league and its embattled commissioner Roger Goodell.

Running back Ray Rice, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, had his contract terminated by the Baltimore Ravens after TMZ released video footage of the 206lb Superbowl winner knocking his then-fiancee, now wife, Janay Palmer unconscious.

Having been indicted for the incident in March, Rice had originally been handed only a two-game ban but was this week suspended indefinitely by Goodell.

Adrian Peterson, another star running back and the MVP in 2012, was indicted on charges of child abuse on Friday and de-activated by the Minnesota Vikings for their game against the New England Patriots.

On Monday, it was announced that Peterson would be back in uniform for his side's trip to the New Orleans Saints.

Watching the week 2 games, the most notable thing was the amount of Peterson and Rice jerseys worn by men, women and children alike in the crowds at Minnesota and Baltimore.

The old sporting cliche goes that it's what happens on the pitch that matters – and, with gridiron, that sadly seems to be the case now more than ever.

Belfast Telegraph


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