CNN reports that Chuck Hagel has asked his staff for detailed information about the U.S. military’s relationships with the National Football League in the wake of the controversy over how the league is handling domestic-abuse allegations against players. With the U.S. supposedly ramping for a war against ISIS, you would think that Hagel has better things to worry about. But politically correct posturing is always a priority for Team Obama.
Hagel presides over a military in which sexual harassment reportedly is rampant. As the employer, the Defense Department is legally responsible for providing its personnel with a harassment-free work place. The NFL has no legal responsibility for domestic abuse committed by players outside of work.
You might think, then, that the Defense Department would not throw the first stone, but things don’t work that way nowadays. Piling on the NFL is a cheap way for Hagel to show his bona fides as a friend of women while diverting attention from allegations that the military mistreats women.
As for the military’s relationship with the NFL, it is well worth preserving. The military advertises on NFL broadcasts. Given the NFL’s enormous viewership among young American males, this is an excellent recruiting method for our all-volunteer military. Should the military abandon this method because Ray Rice initially received only a two game suspension? That would be biting its nose to spite its face.
The military also broadcasts NFL games to troops stationed overseas. Should it deprive troops of this pleasure over after-the-fact displeasure with a League disciplinary policy that has been changed? Of course not.
According to CNN, the Army and the NFL share information and resources to better understand traumatic brain injury, which is a major medical issue both for wounded troops and football players. Even Chuck Hagel isn’t dense enough to end this relationship.
NFL players visit military bases to encourage children to be active for at least 60 minutes a day to help prevent childhood obesity. I doubt that Hagel will want to cancel this program. What would Michelle Obama say?
The NFL can’t tell Chuck Hagel to pound sand, but that would be the appropriate response. That, plus a 15-yard penalty for piling on.