The NFL is Guilty of Piling On

© Original content written by James R. Carlson


The suspension of Ezekiel Elliot, following an alleged domestic violence case, is an example of the abuse that NFL players are being subjected to. The Rule of Law is the final arbiter of penalties in such cases but the NFL is piling on to the point of vigilantism. And in a climate of Black Lives Matter (BLM), which complains about police brutality, the actions by the NFL against its players is more of the same.

The Rule of Law is supposed to provide for justice through a court system where the victim and the accused both have rights. The Court is uniquely established in our country to provide for the due process of law to both parties in a legal case. The Court has the final jurisdiction in such cases and their decisions are not only final, their verdicts are the final word in such matters.

When a person is punished by the Court in civil or criminal cases, they are not supposed to be subjected to additional penalties, called double jeopardy. When someone pays their debt (money or time) to society, they are supposed to return to society without further retribution. Society is supposed to respect this process and not take matters into their own hands and add further punishment.

When a person or group of people decide to take matters into their own hands, they may seek justice but because they are not duly authorized or established to take on matters of law, they become vigilantes. Vigilante justice is well known in America as many people have been lynched by it. Hanging a horse thief or a Black man who just wants to vote was a common practice in our nation’s past. We consider vigilante justice to be brutish and without justice.

The NFL has rules that penalizes poor sportsmanship on the field of play. Piling on is one such penalty. When a runner has been tackled and is down, others might jump on top of him to create a pile; the intent is to punish the runner with extra weight. While this delivers a crushing blow to the runner, it also delivers a yellow flag indicating a violation of league rules. This is exactly what is being done by the NFL when they add penalties to Mr. Elliot after Court actions have already tackled him.

The business of the NFL is entertainment, not justice. Social issues are certainly highlighted by the BLM movement within the NFL as they a protest against legal abuses. The solution sought by BLM should be the rule of law and equal justice to all people despite their color. The solution to the legal issues that Mr. Elliot faces should be found in a Court of Justice, with the provision of the due process of law and not with the vigilantism of the NFL. As people complain about the disrespect of the nation’s flag during our national anthem ceremonies, perhaps it’s time to talk about the disrespect of our nation’s Rule of Law by the NFL. There is nothing wrong with being patriotic at the beginning of each game; but there is something very wrong with the NFL piling on Mr. Elliot.