The NFL has been in the news aplenty lately for all the wrong reasons. On top of the obvious trangressions and social impavt of the Ray Rice debacle and a lesser spoken of case regarding Panthers defender Greg Hardy, the NFL is now in the public eye again for domestic abuse, this time courtesy of Adrian Peterson, the much applauded running back of the Minnesota Vikings.
Both the Baltimore Ravens and Minnesota Vikings defended their players initially, but made the ultimate decision to release and suspend them respectively. There were obviously outside pressures that went into these decisions, even though especially in the Peterson case, they do a heck of a lot of damage to their team's chances of victory.
The NFL is running full steam on PR and image reparations. The youth programs and harsher discipline speak to those measures. But beyond this there lies the invisible hand, yes THAT invisible hand economic majors, that is the main culprit behind this ethical crusade. Sponsorships, many of which are the oil that greases this megalithic sports kingdom we call the NFL.
With many of the League's biggest corporate sponsors voicing very public concerns over the response to cases of domestic violence and abuse, billions of dollars are suddenly up in the air.
Its no surprise that the League is coming down on these cases, and exacting the kind of punishment standards we have seen in many other pro sports leagues. But its not a crusade with moral roots. Its one with dollar signs and bottom lines. The NFL has a long way to go to repair its public image. And their sponsors know how to jumpstart the process.