Sending the wrong message to youth

By now, people are tired of hearing about “Deflategate” news. Overshadowed by the courtroom drama is the message the NFL is sending to the youth of the sport.

The NFL, under the regime of führer Goodell, is showing a disturbing pattern  after recently upholding Tom Brady’s appeal of a four-game suspension.

Tom Brady’s punishment for “general awareness” of ball deflation is the same given to Greg Hardy, a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys “threw a woman in a bathroom and later onto a futon filled with guns and threatened to kill her,” according to a columnist from

Hardy was convicted of assaulting his girlfriend. However, in the appeal, the girlfriend didn’t appear at trial and charges were dropped — she couldn’t be reached by the prosecutors.  It is believed that Hardy reached a settlement with her out of court.

Le’Veon Bell, a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who was cited for a DUI was only given a two-game suspension after successfully appealing his original, three-game, suspension. The NFL is sending disgusting messages, essentially proposing to football players from the youth-level to NFL-ready college athletes that it is more acceptable to beat your partner or drive impaired than it is to know of someone supposedly deflating a football.

The NFL has the highest arrest rate across the four major sports since 2010, according to

Along with the disturbing punishment is the NFL’s issue of dealing with the neurological issues that have become apparent in retired NFL players, and how it impacts current players and their livelihood.

Chris Borland has become the figurehead of this nightmare, Borland was a young rising defensive star for the San Francisco 49ers.

Borland retired just after one year in the NFL, citing concern for future head trauma, leaving a contract worth millions and returning a signing bonus worth six figures. Borland has begun to travel to colleges across the country and talk to players about evaluating  their future.

This is in addition to a recent rash of studies focusing on the lasting neurological effect on football players, citing direct damage related to impacts sustained from football.

These studies coincide with retired player Junior Seau whose 2012 suicide has been attributed to brain damage received from playing football.

More recently Erik Kramer, a former NFL QB, attempted to commit suicide. Many believe his depression was a result of the trauma sustained from his football career.

The NFL however continues to dictate the media coverage and attention away from these larger issues.

Less attention should be on the courtroom drama and more should be on the real message the NFL is sending.

Joseph Gallant is an integrative biology major and a pharmacology masters student.  He has been writing for the Cynic since fall 2015.