Domestic violence was focus of Santa Clara University sports law symposium

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ByLilian Kim KGO logo
Friday, September 12, 2014
Domestic violence was the focus of a sports law and ethics symposium at Santa Clara University Thursday.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- Domestic violence was the main focus of a sports law and ethics symposium at Santa Clara University Thursday.

"Given all of the ongoing situations with domestic violence, I'm not going to take questions on that," said Paraag Marathe, President of the San Francisco 49ers.

Marathe quickly set the ground rules after his keynote address at the at the symposium. He wouldn't talk about the domestic violence troubles of Ray Rice or the 49ers own Ray McDonald, but he did answer a question on whether moral values play a role when selecting players.

"You do the best you can to figure who would be a positive influence on the club. Sometimes you're right and sometimes you're wrong," said Marathe.

The panel of speakers did not shy away from the domestic violence issue. Former NFL player Ryan Nece says seeing the video of running back Ray Rice striking his then-fiancee was disappointing to say the least.

"I have a lot women in my life I care deeply about so when I saw that video it struck a nerve," said Nece.

Rice has since been suspended indefinitely from the NFL, but prior to the release of the latest video, he had been suspended for only two games.

No one on the panel is calling on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign, but many say the power to discipline players should not rest solely with him.

"There should be input in the composition of the selection of the investigation machinery by the NFL players association, by women's organization," said William Gould, former National Labor Relations Board Chairman.

In the case of McDonald, who was arrested last month for hitting his pregnant fiancee, no one here criticized the team's decision allowing him to play.

"There hasn't been a charge, there hasn't been a plea, there hasn't been a conviction," said Patrick Dunkley, Deputy Director of Athletics at Stanford University.

It's a topic that everyone seems to have an opinion about, and one that many hope will bring about serious changes in the NFL.