On February 19, 2014, Ray Rice, star running back for the Baltimore Ravens, assaulted his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer, in a hotel elevator in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This incident brought an increased level of scrutiny towards professional athletes and their organizations by shining a spotlight on egregious personal indiscretions that had previously been overlooked. The four major North American professional sport organizations (Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, and the National Hockey League) have all have dealt with incidents of violence and criminal activity on and off the field, yet there have not been any substantial changes to the policies within the leagues’ respective Collective Bargaining Agreements (“CBAs”). It is undeniable that over the past several decades professional sports has been plagued with high profile athletes committing or allegedly committing violent, and occasionally severe crimes—a severe example would be former New England Patriot tight end, Aaron Hernandez, who is awaiting trial in Massachusetts on three separate charges of first-degree murder. While violence off the field has remained consistent, these organizations have not taken any initiatives to find a solution to this endemic problem.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on March 9, 2015. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Kefalas, Maria, "Criminal Athletes: The Expanding Necessity To Create Uniform Punishments In Professional Sports" (2015). AELJ Blog. 66.