As NFL fans, a lot has happened in the past month.
Former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice was exposed as a woman-beater after footage leaked of him knocking out his then-fiance, now-wife in a Revel Casino elevator. Originally suspended just two games by the NFL (which was a sickening injustice for his despicable action), the Ravens and the league reacted only after the footage was released, as Baltimore cut him and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.
Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson was suspended indefinitely for facing child abuse charges after images surfaced of the lashes he supposedly caused while harshly disciplining his four year old son with a tree branch, called a "switch". More allegations have come out since his arrest.
Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was recently charged with head-butting his wife, which broke her nose, and striking his son after his wife denied him sex. There are alleged domestic abusers currently playing in the NFL right now, like 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald, who was booked on the suspicion that he hit his pregnant fiancé.
Greg Hardy was convicted of domestic assault in the offseason after he allegedly assaulted and threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend. According to the case details, Hardy flung his girlfriend from a bed, threw her into a bathtub and then onto a futon littered with assault rifles. He then ripped a necklace off of her neck, threw it in a toilet, slammed the toilet lid on her arm, dragged her by the hair room to room, and then put his hands around her throat and said he was going to kill her. Greg Hardy also wasn't suspended by the Carolina Panthers until the Ray Rice incident led the public to question why Hardy was playing. Greg Hardy started in Week 1. All of this is simply devoid of logic.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has made plenty of mistakes, eventually admitted that he did, yet still remains vague in his plan to solve the violence issue that is ruining the league's character.
We have the right to be upset, the right to be discouraged, and the right to feel sickened by the recent events. But, as fans, let's be honest... none of this really matters.
After his allegations were publicly known, Ravens fans gave Ray Rice a standing ovation multiple times, for God's sake. And, oh yeah, do you remember when Aaron Hernandez fans lined up in Patriots jerseys outside of his court hearings after he was accused of capital murder? Fans will be fans, and also some of the most closed-minded individuals out there. You know if you fit under this category.
This is because we can't get enough of the NFL's product and our teams. National television ratings of the sport are up this year, including among American females, and we all simply can't get past the fact that the NFL is the most polarizing sport by far in our country.
We want to see the young guns like Nick Foles, Andrew Luck, and Matthew Stafford take over for the aging veterans like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, as a new wave of top quarterbacks surges through the league.
We want to appreciate players like DeMarco Murray, who became the first NFL player since Curtis Martin in 2004 to start the season with three-straight games of 100-plus yards rushing and a rushing touchdown.
We want to smile at the fact that every point scored in the Patriots 16-9 win over the Raiders on Sunday was by a player with "-kowski" at the end of their last name (Janikowski, Gostkowski, Gronkowski).
We want to love the Super Bowl rematch that went into overtime, with the Seahawks pulling out the gutsy win after Denver made an astounding Peyton Manning-led comeback.
We are fans of the 3-0 Philadelphia Eagles, of the 1-2 Tennessee Titans, and of the 0-3 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Only three teams are undefeated and only three are defeated (have no wins).
We go tailgating. We throw watch parties. We cheer in crowded bars and alone on our sofas. We check our fantasy scores with acute attention. We watch highlights on the toilet (... maybe that's just me...) Sundays have a completely different meaning for NFL fans.
We don't want to hear another story about a woman or child being hurt.
So, while we (or I guess I should hope most of us) are not advocates of violence, including domestic violence, no changes to punishment of the league's players or re-defining policies will actually cause us to stop watching. The NFL and Rodger Goodell know that. Teams know that. This is why there's no sense of urgency and no desperation on the NFL's side to get new policies in place.
Business is booming. Goodell reportedly made over $44 million dollars in salary last year. Would you be scrambling to do anything while making that kind of green? Don't think so.
What's the best way to impact the NFL in protest? That would have to be turning the channel to something else on Sunday afternoons, which isn't going to ever happen. So, let's sit back, accept the current situation, and be optimistic that a harsher policy is formed against cowards who decide to abuse women or children. Optimism is a solid strategy... because it's not like we can or will take a stand against the NFL due to it's power and especially the product that it produces every week. With this optimism comes the hope that future and current NFL players can become educated and aware of the effects of domestic violence, which will, in turn, cause them to develop or accentuate an innate respect for women.
It's a shame, but it seems as though violence and cowardice has become part of the game we love, just like tackles, touchdowns, fumbles, and interceptions. We just have to learn how to deal with it, because we will never stop watching the game we love -- especially with so many exciting on-field narratives happening every week.