According to the “NFL Player Arrests” database by USA Today, nearly 100 NFL players have been arrested for domestic violence since 2000.
Before 2014, many NFL players who were arrested for domestic violence got off with minor suspensions from the league or were placed in diversion programs.
Then in February 2014, Ray Rice, former running back for the Baltimore Ravens, was arrested on charges of domestic violence and was suspended two games by the NFL that July.
A few days after the league issued Rice’s suspension, a report (which was later revealed to be false) was released stating that the NFL had not seen the full video of the incident. Then in August 2014, league commissioner Roger Goodell admitted to mishandling Rice’s punishment and announced a new domestic violence policy for the league.
In September 2014, Rice was banned from the NFL, only to later be reinstated in November 2014 after winning an appeal.
Another big case popped up in 2015 with the arrest of former New York Giants kicker Josh Brown. Brown admitted to abusing his wife in journals and emails, yet the NFL only suspended him for one game.
The NFL suspended Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, for missing a drug test and fines players thousands of dollars for celebrating a touchdown, but only suspended Josh Brown one game after admitting to abusing his wife.
As an NFL fan, it is frustrating to see the league pretty much give players a slap on the wrist for a violent crime, yet take thousands of dollars back for them expressing excitement on the field.
This may not be the reason for the NFL’s ratings lowering, but it is something that causes people to lose a lot of respect for the league.