As the league faces a firestorm of outrage over how it handled recent cases, USA TODAY Sports looked at every case in which an NFL player was accused of domestic abuse since NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took office eight years ago.
Three trends emerged:
—A brief suspension: In at least 14 cases, the league or the team suspended or deactivated the players, mostly for just one game. Only one of those was suspended more than two games prior to the league’s recent controversy involving then-Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was suspended indefinitely after video surfaced that showed he punched his now-wife in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino.
—No suspension: In 16 cases, the league did not suspend the player, often in accordance with how prosecutors viewed those cases. Seven of those cases resulted in legal charges being dropped, plus one acquittal. Six others entered diversion programs to avoid prosecution.
—Grandstand justice: In 15 cases, players were released or not re-signed by their teams soon after their arrest and then never played another NFL game. These players often had marginal talent, but teams could make a show of their release by appearing to have a zero-tolerance policy toward domestic violence
More: History of Leniency: NFL Domestic Cases Under Goodell