10/02/2014 02:34 am ET Updated Oct 02, 2014


Rachel Maddow came down hard on the NFL Monday night over its handling of the multiple domestic violence cases that now have the league under intense scrutiny.

Maddow criticized the NFL's "haphazard, random approach" to the issue of "star players who beat their wives and children." She cited the situations of Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Adrian Peterson, Ray McDonald, all of whom could return to play football despite abuse allegations that could land them in prison if they were convicted.

"That's four players, and four incidents and four situations where the NFL and the individual teams are just sort of freelancing!" Maddow said. "Everybody is just playing it by ear, trying to gauge public reactions to their decisions and then making adjustments on the fly."

She called out NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has been called on to resign by several groups, for seemingly "disappearing" from public view as his situation gets worse.

"This is a mess," Maddow said. "It's all these teams dealing with all these domestic violence issues with no apparent rhyme or reason for how they're dealing with them."