There may not be many positives to take out of the controversies swirling around the NFL these days, but Chiefs coach Andy Reid says the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson situations are, at the very least, shining a light on two very serious issues — domestic violence and child abuse — that need to be addressed nationwide.
“If we could just say this has enlightened us on the issue and come out saying that this is part of life today — not that it hasn't been in the past — but if it can help make things better, and I think it will, overall that's what we're all striving for right now,” Reid said.
“I think it could end up being a positive for society and for the National Football League. I'm glad it's being addressed and I think positive things can happen.”
Rice, of course, was suspended indefinitely once video of him knocking out his wife surfaced publicly last week. Peterson, who is accused of disciplining his 4-year-old son with a switch, has been banned from all team activities until the issue is resolved.
“I think eyes are opened,” said Reid, who notably gave quarterback Michael Vick his second crack at the NFL after he served a prison stint for dog fighting. “The one thing that I think is positive about Michael's situation is it enlightened people (about) dog fighting, and so then action took place.”
To be clear, Reid isn't comparing the severity of the situations, just the potential impact they could have on the issues. Reid said he and his wife, Tammy, have long been active in Laurel House, a Norristown, Pa.,-based domestic-violence charity they adopted several years ago.
“I've been involved with the domestic abuse part of this for many years with our charity, Laurel House, so I'm familiar with it,” Reid said. “I've seen both sides of it and talked to people from both sides of it. It needs to come to the front and I'm glad that it is.”
When asked if the NFL has a responsibility to be proactive about preventing serious issues, Reid essentially said they already are.
“They're out there doing things, and the players are talked to about these things all the time,” Reid said. “For the most part, the guys are doing a good job with it. … We're in the fix-it business as coaches and so if you can help make somebody a better person and help make the world a bit better, amen to that.”
Reid said he makes sure he talks to his players about serious issues such as these.
“I talk to them about any situation out there,” Reid said. “We normally hit these things before they happen and talk about it in the offseason. (Player development assistant) B.J. (Stabler) does a good job of doing his job and keeping players aware of things. We try to keep communication open, which is important.”
While the issue of domestic abuse is often black and white, the issue of how far parents can go when disciplining their children can be a little more murky.
However, Chiefs defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, 31, said the players know that when it comes to that, things simply aren't the way they used to be.
“When I was coming up, my dad, my mom would spank me,” Vickerson said. “Looking back at it now, you can't do those things today.
“Discipline is discipline. At the same time, there's different types of discipline. You've just got to be smart in how you handle it.”