After Ray Rice Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand Wants Hearings “If The NFL Doesn’t Police Themselves”

September 17, 2014 1:02 pmViews: 146

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand NFL hearings

Recently, a video surfaced depicting a domestic violence incident between Baltimore Ravens football player Ray Rice and his soon to be wife in an elevator. It is a brutal, morally indefensible image to be sure, clearly showing Rice beating his wife severely. The NFL has, and rightly so, spoken out strongly against the actions of Ray Rice, and has disciplined him by banning him from professional play indefinitely. One might call this action a resolution, and say that is the end of the affair, but as it turns out this would be hopelessly naïve. At least, once Democratic New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand becomes involved.

Senator Gillibrand has elevated a deplorable domestic violence and NFL professional conduct issue into what may now potentially become, apparently, a federal case. Commenting on speculations that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell may have known of the existence of the video for some time before it became public (and neglected to act on it), Gillibrand has sorely overreacted, saying that if the NFL fails to “police itself”, then “we will be looking more into it.” Most outrageous of all, Senator Gillibrand has stated in so many words that she foresees the possibility of senate hearings being held on this matter.

“Initially I wanted [Goodell] to lead the reform to initiate a zero-tolerance policy,” she said, as reported on “But…if he lied? If he lied to the American people, then he has to step down, because he won’t have the force of authority to address these issues.”

To say this is a gross overstep of authority – as well as elevating an internal affair of a private organization such as the NFL to an undeserved national level – is gravely understating the matter. It is no business, and no jurisdiction, of the United States Senate to involve itself in the policing of the NFL. As said earlier, and as should never be misunderstood, the incident in question is a reprehensible one, and millions of football fans can and should watch closely the actions of the NFL as well as perform their own evaluations of evidence that Rice's actions may have been known to that organization beforehand, but the matter rightly ends there.

It is frankly chilling to imagine any level of government, let alone that of the federal, insinuating itself into and making arbitrary judgement calls over this manner of dispute. Kirsten Gillibrand needs to learn where her authority begins and ends, and do the job she was elected to do without giving herself new responsibilities – and new powers.

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