The NFL's domestic violence problem

"I think this broader topic of respect really encompasses a lot of areas," Gulliver said. "When we talk about respect it includes not only the locker room and the playing field. It really encompasses how we treat each other in all walks of life."

Two games. Not enough.

Domestic violence is addressed in the rookie symposium, in which there is a review of the league's personal conduct policy. It's also addressed in the rookie success program, which consists of nine mandatory 60-minute sessions, with two specifically dedicated to personal relationships.

Wade Davis of the You Can Play Project is helping the NFL address issues of sexual identity and inclusiveness. He said issues of sexual violence and identity have things in common, including dismissing anything that seems feminine.

As a former player himself, he knows that this kind of discussion can be hard for players, who don't want to be talked down to or lectured on social issues.

It's a tough thing to balance. Rookies are in orientation for two days and hear a raft of personal stories with a point, whether the villain in the story is bankruptcy, DUI or steroid use. All those topics are important, but is it even possible to keep players from tuning out?

Edwards said the NFL could have players sign a pledge as a way of putting more emphasis on the issue, and could certainly give more time to groups working to advocate or provide resources for women who have been abused. He noted that neither of those things would be affected by the collective bargaining agreement, which mandates how the league can respond to allegations of impropriety.

Yet Edwards sees domestic violence becoming more of a problem for the league. Noting the Rice video, he said cameras, camera phones and social media will only put more of a spotlight on the issue. Allegations of alcohol-related impropriety against Colts owner Jim Irsay are also troubling, he noted, but there's no video.

The really scary question then becomes: What kind of a video does Roger Goodell need to see before he takes domestic violence seriously?

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