Let’s get these out of the way early, so we can hopefully head off the most common criticisms that follow any story on athletes and domestic violence. No, we don’t think abusers should be banned from the NFL and forever exiled to Kolyma for their crimes. No, there is nothing wrong with teams signing or drafting convicted criminals. No, it is neither necessary nor desirable for the NFL to subsume the work of the legal system.
The Seattle Times’ revelation earlier this week about the Seahawks’ failure to poke into the violent past of second-round draft pick Frank Clark was quickly buried by the conclusion of the innocuous Patriots scandal (something the NFL seems to have a knack for), but it remains incredibly galling. And not even because the team’s investigation had blind spots so obvious and rectifiable that they could only have been the product of intentional omission, but because of the Seahawks’ stubborn insistence that they had done everything right.