The NFL is not the first to grapple with the fallout from the sexual harassment allegations against its most famous player.
The Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns have both dealt with similar fallout from players’ allegations of domestic violence, while former Baltimore Ravens defensive end Brendon Ayanbadejo was suspended for the 2016 season for violating the NFL’s domestic violence policy.
And in January, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle William Hayes pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of domestic abuse.
In the end, all three players who faced allegations of assault and battery in the same season have been cleared by the NFL.
But for all three, the NFL is the one organization that could potentially benefit from having a player’s story come out at a time when the public and media attention is on.
“You want to have the most accurate information on an issue before the public gets involved,” said the NFLPA’s Josh Krulewitz, who represents one of the players who was accused of domestic assault.
“When the media becomes involved, it’s really hard to have an accurate information.
So if you can help the public understand the situation, then it’s very beneficial to the league.”
It’s a difficult line to walk in the NFL, as there is a growing consensus that a player should be held accountable for their actions.
In 2015, the New York Giants were forced to pay former defensive tackle D’Andre Johnson $15 million in a settlement after he was accused by multiple women of hitting them.
“I’m a guy that is very outspoken, and I think a lot of people would find it to be a little bit extreme and a little strange,” Kruleowsky said.
“But in the context of the game, you don’t see it too often, and the players are just doing what they’re supposed to do.
It’s really important that these things don’t get out.”
And in 2017, the Steelers suspended quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for one game for violating league rules after he punched his then-girlfriend in the face.
But there’s an element of truth in the idea that players are held accountable by the league for their behavior.
While NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has previously said that he’s “troubled by some of the things that have happened in our league,” he also pointed out that players can make mistakes, and there are repercussions for those mistakes.
“They don’t always get caught, but it’s not always the case that players don’t have a chance to make the best decisions,” Goodell said at the time.
“The truth is, in my view, there is no excuse for the type of conduct that has been found to be unacceptable in the past.
But you have to recognize that you cannot just let it go and forget about it.”
The NFL’s handling of the domestic violence allegations against Roethlisberger and Hayes, however, is a different story.
“This is a situation that we are aware of,” Kallinen said.
“[We have] worked with the players’ union to make sure that they have all the resources they need to deal with this.
I think they’ve taken a very clear position, which is that if there’s any kind of criminal charge, they will pursue those charges vigorously.
I know they are trying to do that.”
Kallininen believes that the NFL has not taken that stance, though.
“We haven’t heard any word from the NFL that they’re not going to look into this and pursue these charges, and we think that that’s absolutely the case,” she said.
The NFL, however has been careful not to directly comment on the allegations, citing a policy that requires players to disclose any potential issues to the union.
“Our focus has always been on building trust with our players,” Kallo said.
Kallinnen said she hopes the NFL can continue to work with the union to prevent the next domestic violence scandal.
“If it happens again, we hope that the league would step up and work with us to do something about it,” she added.
In April, NFL Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement that addressed the issues that have arisen following Roethlsberger’s and Hayes’ suspensions, but was also vague about how the league plans to respond.
“While we are still working through the investigation, I can tell you that we have zero tolerance for any kind, direct or indirect, for any form of misconduct or inappropriate behavior in our organization,” the statement read.
“Any kind of misconduct that is not addressed immediately or adequately addressed by the parties involved is not dealt with appropriately.”
While there are no specific sanctions in place against the league, Kalliniisen said he believes that there is more to be done.
“There’s a lot more that we need to do,” he said.
For Kallinaisen, the issue is not just about discipline.
It is about accountability.
“It’s not about the player, it is about the league,” Kalliisen said.
While there have been