John Steigerwald

Column John Steigerwald

John Steigerwald has been a fixture of TV, radio, and newspaper sports in Pittsburgh, and has a Sunday column in the Observer-Reporter.

Some deserve more than suspensions

Some deserve more than suspensions

August 16, 2014
Ravens running back Ray Rice greets fans after an Aug. 7 preseason game against San Francisco. Rice is suspended for the first two games of the regular season. - Associated Press

The horses are out, and Roger Goodell is ready to shut the barn door.

Yep, the NFL Commissioner got the message that a two-game suspension given to Ray Rice for slapping his then-fiancé around was another slap in the face to women and would do little to prevent domestic abuse by NFL players in the future.

The Washington Post reported Goodell is considering a new policy that would result in a four-to-six game suspension for a first domestic abuse offense and a full season for a second. That’s good news and bad news if you’re the wife of an abusive NFL player. It might serve as a deterrent and make it safer for you to live under the same roof with him.

The bad news is that, if he does beat you up and you report it, your household income could be reduced by a few million dollars.

If a NFL wife already caused her husband to lose 25 or 30 percent of his salary, how hard would it be for him to talk her out of pressing charges the second time, if it means not losing eight or 10 million dollars?

Have you noticed discussions about the punishment fitting the crime come up a lot in the NFL?

If it’s not domestic abuse, it’s DUI or an assault.

Sometimes it’s murder. Of course, Goodell probably won’t have to suspend Aaron Hernandez.

If the district attorneys and judges were tougher on pro athletes who break the law, maybe Goodell wouldn’t feel compelled to increase penalties.

For knocking his fiancé unconscious and dragging her out of an elevator by her hair, Rice got two games from Goodell, but he got bupkus from the state of New Jersey.

New Jersey Superior Court Judge Michael Donio and D.A. Jim McClain kept Rice out of jail by putting him in a diversion program for first-time offenders. They weren’t feeling quite as merciful when single mother of three, Shaneen Allen, was pulled over for a traffic violation and volunteered to the cop that she was carrying a gun, for which she had a Pennsylvania concealed-carry permit. She lives across the river in Philadelphia.

She didn’t know New Jersey didn’t recognize Pennsylvania’s permit to carry, but we’ll leave the stupidity of that for another time.

Allen was arrested and neither Donio nor McClain has been willing to dismiss the charges or send her to a diversion program. Allen is looking at a mandatory 42-month prison sentence if she’s convicted.

If she is convicted and does jail time, she probably won’t get a standing ovation when she goes back to any of her three jobs as Rice did when he showed up for the first day of Baltimore Ravens training camp.

Allen decided to become a legal gun owner after she was robbed twice. Her intent was to prevent herself from being the victim of another crime. Rice committed a crime and got a pass.

The media outrage over the NFL’s puny penalty was long and loud.

Do you recall hearing much outrage over Rice avoiding jail time?

It’s time to direct some loud and long outrage at Judge Michael Donio and District Attorney Jim McClain.

Let’s make Allen’s story as well-known as Rice’s.

• Major League Baseball has a new commissioner.

Rob Manfred was elected by the owners Thursday and will succeed Baghdad Bud Selig in January. Bud liked to tell anyone who would listen that we are living in the golden era of baseball. He bases that opinion on ticket sales and revenue. Manfred won’t be able to make the same claim 20 years from now if young people don’t start paying attention to baseball.

More women over the age of 50 watched the 2012 World Series than men 18-49. In 1984, 42 percent of the TV sets in America tuned into the World Series. In 2012, that number had dropped to 12 percent.

• Hitters striking out at record rates are probably not a good way to get more people interested in the game. This season, pitchers have struck out 20.3 percent of batters they faced. Never in the history of baseball have pitchers struck out batters at a 20 percent rate.

• Are you surprised by the Kansas City Royals’ success? Maybe you shouldn’t be. Yeah, they haven’t been to the playoffs in 29 years but, at $92 million, they have the second highest payroll in their division.

• Ricky Fowler lipped out a putt on the 18th hole of the PGA Championship last Sunday. It cost him $300,000.

• There are lots of mobile quarterbacks in the NFL now. Johnny Manziel might be better than all of them at throwing the ball on the run.

John Steigerwald writes a Sunday column for the Observer-Reporter



blog comments powered by Disqus