092214allrevvedup.mp3

Can disgraced NFL players redeem themselves?

Last Friday, Roger Goodell held a press conference to address problems with his players' off-field conduct. Goodell placed blame on himself for the way player punishments were handed out.

Critics of the NFL hold Goodell hasn't gone far enough in keeping players accused crimes off the field. While the league and its critics sort out appropriate punishments, it's harder to see — farther down the road — whether it's possible for players to redeem themselves.

Will Ray Rice find his way back onto a team's roster? Will Adrian Peterson ever end up in the Hall of Fame?

On Boston Public Radio​, the Reverends Emmett G. Price III and Irene Monroe talked about the path to redemption, and whether embattled NFL players deserve to lace up their spikes again.

"Absolutely there is redemption here. We have to separate redemption from penalty," Rev. Price said, underlining that forgiveness comes after penitence. "I think Ray Rice should go to jail. (...) Redemption comes as a product of one's serving one's time.

Rev. Price added that Adrian Peterson has to admit his mistakes. "There's hard work that has to be done before that because in his pathology he's just another in a line of [his family's] generations," Price said. "For him it's not an outlier — it's normative behavior."

While Rev. Price thought both Peterson or Rice could redeem themselves, he thought both should start looking for new careers. "I think they're done playing football. By the time they get to the point of having done all the work necessary, they'll probably be too old," Price said.

Rev. Monroe said both players are publicly doomed. There's "no redemption whatsoever," she said.

Monroe said the NFL's commissioner is only concerned with the league's financial health. "Goodell is trying to reform himself, he'll be able on the surface to redeem the league here. Basically, he's trying to save his butt. And then he's trying to save the dollars," Price said.

Monroe added Goodell is focused on wooing women into an NFL habit. "Women are now the NFL's most important group," she said. "You now see football ads in women's magazines."

Are Peterson, Rice, and other players outliers in the NFL? Monroe didn't think so. "The pathology that nobody wants to address is the pathology of football," Monroe said. "Violent men on the field."

Monroe said Peterson and Rice have an opportunity to do a lot of good, still.

"[Adrian Peterson] is on the Wheaties box, and there are a lot of kids who look up to him, and a lot of kids are making this association, 'This guy who I look up to beat up his kid,'" Monroe said. She suggested he speak to kids directly about abuse. "His mea culpa moment would be to go on Sesame Street, talk to" kids about abuser.

The Golden Rule is about gold, and not the rule, anymore. -- Rev. Emmett G. Price III

Price agreed. "Because of their notoriety, because of their names," they're uniquely positioned to have an impact.

Rev. Monroe said the problems extends well beyond football. "The whole idea is, in order to redeem behaviors, you're going to have to address the [fact that] domestic violence runs deep within the institution itself," Monroe said. "We're a culture that glorifies violent sports, then we wonder why this (...) behavior that we see on-field is played out in their personal lives."

Rev. Price suggested players, coaches and owners may be too concerned now with TV contracts, merchandise, and million-dollar paychecks. "The 'Golden Rule' is about gold, and not the rule, anymore," Price said.

>>To hear the entire All Revved Up conversation, including conversation about the thirthieth anniversary of The Cosby Show's debut, click the audio above.