The NFL’s ques­tio­na­ble so­cial cons­cien­ce A lea­gue that claims to ca­re about any num­ber of ail­ments in to­day’s so­ciety can’t even look af­ter one pla­yer’s health pro­blems

La Jornada (Canada) - - ENGLISH SECTION -

The NFL usually means the Na­tio­nal Foot­ball Lea­gue but la­tely it has been the call sign for so­met­hing com­ple­telyy dif­fe­rent: hy­po­crisy.

The sports giant has s sus­pen­ded Buf­fa­lo Bills of­fen­si­ve fen­si­ve li­ne­man Sean­trel Hen­der­son n for

10 ga­mes for fai­ling a drug test.

It’s his se­cond sus­pen­sion this year, ha­ving al­ready ser­ved a four-ga­me ban. His cri­me? ?

Smo­king doc­tor-pres­cri­bed me­di­cal ma­ri­jua­na. The hul­king tac­kle suf­fers from

Crohn’s di­sea­se, a ch­ro­nic in­flam­ma­tory bo­wel con­di­tion that af­fects the li­ning of the di­ges­ti­ve tract. It’s an ex­tre­mely pain­ful di­sea­se and nd

Hen­der­son has had two in­tes­ti­nal es­ti­nal sur­ge­ries as a re­sult of it. Gi­venn the sta­te of his di­ges­ti­ve sys­tem, he can’t ta­ke tra­di­tio­nal pain ki­llers.

Ma­ri­jua­na is his only real op­tion tion if he wants to fun­ction nor­mally, ne­ver mind play a de­man­ding ga­me li­ke foot­ball.

This isn’t the same si­tua­tion as dis­gra­ced Cle­ve­land Browns re­cei­ver and all-round knuc­klehead Josh Gor­don, who has spent mo­re ti­me sus­pen­ded for fai­led drug tests than not.

In Hen­der­son’s ca­se, he is not smo­king up as he par­ties and he’s not ta­king per­for­man­ce-en­han­cing drugs. He’s ta­king a le­gally-pres­cri­bed drug to deal with a de­bi­li­ta­ting con­di­tion.

Is that worth the NFL brin­ging down the ham­mer?

On the flip­si­de is the lea­gue’s hand­ling of do­mes­tic abu­se is­sues.

The NFL has ap­pa­rently lear­ned not­hing from the Ray Ri­ce scan­dal a few years ago ex­cept how to put lips­tick on a pig. The lea­gue pro­du­ced a splashy ad­ver­ti­sing cam­paign af­ter the star run­ning back was caught on vi­deo pun­ching his fian­cé and pro­mi­sed to be bet­ter at crac­king down on ins­tan­ces of do­mes­tic vio­len­ce in their ranks.

As al­ways, if a pla­yer is good enough, the lea­gue will sweep his pro­blem un­der the rug.

Ve­te­ran pla­ce kic­ker Josh Brown was gi­ven just a one-ga­me sus­pen­sion fo­llo­wing an in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­to alle­ga­tions that he phy­si­cally abu­sed his then wi­fe Molly. The alle­ga­tions sur­fa­ced in 2015 but the­re had been about 20 ot­her in­ci­dents in re­cent years, in­clu­ding one at the Pro Bowl whe­re his wi­fe and kids had to be mo­ved to a se­pa­ra­te, un­dis­clo­sed ho­tel. Brown ad­mits to the abu­se.

The New York Giants re-sig­ned the 37-year-old kic­ker in the off-sea- son, des­pi­te being fully awa­re of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

It wasn’t un­til the NFL slap­ped Brown on the wrist in Oc­to­ber that the Giants re­lea­sed him, but he is still free to sign with any ot­her team. And chan­ces are the­re will be anot­her team. His is­sues w we­re well known pre­viously yet he con­ti­nu con­ti­nued to get op­por­tu­ni­ties.

He is far from the only such do­mes­tic abus abu­se head­li­ner this NFL sea­son. Da­llas Cow­boys run­ning back Eze­kiel Elliott was un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion for dom do­mes­tic vio­len­ce - char­ges he has sin sin­ce been clea­red of - when he w was draf­ted fourth ove­rall in the la last NFL draft. He is a lead can­di­da­te for roo­kie of the year. But a se­cond round of alle­ga­tions has sur­fa­ced in­vol­ving Elliott and the same wo­man. An inv ves­ti­ga­tion is un­der­way.

Kan­sas City Chiefs roo­kie re re­cei­ver Ty­reek Hill re­pre­sents ano anot­her shi­ning exam­ple of the lea­gue t tur­ning a blind eye. Two years ago, he was kick kic­ked out of Oklaho­ma Sta­te af­ter plea­ding guilty to hit­ting his preg­nant girl­friend in the fa­ce and sto­mach sto­mach, then cho­king her her. He re­cei­ved th­ree years of pro­ba­tion and had to en­rol in an in­ten­si­ve 52-week bat­te­rer in­ter­ven­tion cour­se. Af­ter a year at a Di­vi­sion 2 co­lle­ge foot­ball pro­gram, the Chiefs took him in the fifth round of the draft. Last wee­kend, he was na­med roo­kie of the week af­ter a big ga­me against the Den­ver Bron­cos.

If the NFL was se­rious about their stan­ce on do­mes­tic abu­se and their fe­ma­le fans - as they wrap them­sel­ves in pink every Oc­to­ber in sup­port of breast cancer - pla­yers li­ke Hill would not see the light of day in the lea­gue. But hey, he plays foot­ball well - fans will for­get all about it when he’s put­ting the ball in the end zo­ne.

All of this is a stu­pef­ying con­trast to Hen­der­son. He was using a pres­cri­bed subs­tan­ce that is fully legal in 11 sta­tes and legal on a me­di­cal ba­sis in 12 ot­hers - in­clu­ding New York, whe­re they Bills play - to treat a de­bi­li­ta­ting di­sea­se. And he has now been sus­pen­ded for 14 ga­mes.

But hey, the NFL has a so­cial cons­cien­ce. Just ask them and they’ll pro­du­ce a righ­teous vi­deo. -TROYMEDIA

Troy Me­dia co­lum­nist Josh Al­drich has spent the last 14 years co­ve­ring the wi­de world of sports in B.C. and Al­ber­ta. Josh is in­clu­ded in Troy Me­dia’s Un­li­mi­ted Ac­cess subs­crip­tion plan.

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