The National Football League, which has been steeped in political drama over the past year, is taking steps to ensure their player’s voices are heard. In fact, Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner recently penned a criminal justice reform letter to senators supporting a bill that would address concerns players have had over the last two seasons.
NFL Commissioner Pens Criminal Justice Reform Letter
The letter was authored by both Roger Goodell and Seattle Seahawks player Doug Baldwin. It addressed Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D- Ill.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah).
The letter also copied House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
The purpose of the letter is to support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2017. The bill was originally introduced in 2015, but it’s getting the support of the NFL in 2017.
“The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act would address many of the issues on which our players have worked to raise awareness of over the last two seasons,” the letter stated.
Social injustice is one of the main things being protested by NFL players.
The bill includes a reduction in the mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenders. It also removes the “three-strikes” provision that requires a life sentence, even for little offenses. Judges will be given the ability to reduce the sentences for small crimes.
“This bill seeks to improve public safety, increase rehabilitation, and strengthen families. If enacted, it would be a positive next step in our collective efforts to move our nation forward,” the letter continued.
Bill Increases Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Domestic Violence
Another reason the NFL commissioner penned this criminal justice reform letter was to address the ongoing problem the league has had with domestic violence.
It’s been a topic of controversy in the league since Ray Rice’s assault case in 2014. According to Vice, 44 players in the NFL have been accused of sexual or physical assault. Just this year, five players have been arrested for domestic violence-related crimes.
“We felt that this was an issue over the last months, as we have continued to work with our players on issues of equality and on issues of criminal-justice reform, that was surfaced for us, and we thought it was appropriate to lend our support to it,” NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said Monday during a conference call with reporters.
If it passes, the bill would increase the mandatory minimum sentences for domestic violence. The new law could help to reduce the number of domestic abuse cases surfacing around the NFL. If players keep getting let off easily, there will be no incentive for it to stop.
The bill still faces opposition from members of the Trump administration. Jeff Sessions, along with GOP Senators David Perdue (R-Ga.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), believes the criminal justice reform bill is “dangerous for America.”
Jeff Sessions also compared the dangers of marijuana to the opioid crisis. Sen. Orrin Hatch even helped Tom Marino pass legislation that prevented the DEA from keeping addictive opioids off the streets.