I’ve read the same reports as you have, and I don’t see anyone saying they got leaked documents from the NFLPA. (The NFLPA, by the way, soon released a response, saying the NFL was lying.) Whoever leaked this material, you can easily read it, believe Thompson, and still question the process that led to the NFL suspending Elliott for six games. But this is the NFL, so of course a case of domestic violence is really just a chance to advance its own agenda of crushing what little power the players’ union has left and making the NFL’s Park Avenue offices appear to be a benevolent judiciary lording over the players. Was this ever about making it easier and safer for battered women to get out of bad relationships? No. Was it ever about reforming player behavior? Oh God no.

As for the second half of the statement, no, I don’t want the NFL dishing out what it thinks are the reasons women don’t report abuse. There are many reasons victims don’t report abuse. They might fear their partners losing income their family needs due to the conviction. They might fear retaliation from the abuser. They might fear that an honest accounting of an attack and of what they did in the aftermath might make them appear less than perfect under scrutiny, or fear being left to defend themselves with few resources. Somehow, the NFL left what would be inconvenient for the league’s vision of itself out of its statement, and managed to focus on the elements of the process that work to defend labor against management. The NFL cherry-picks the elements of domestic violence they want to see, and ignores the other parts.

What McCarthy left out of his statement is that there is still a chance that Elliott will receive zero counseling. That isn’t an accident; no part of this policy, down to the part where only “credible” evidence is needed to find a player in violation of it, is about making men better men. It’s about making sure Goodell looks strong. I’ve referred to the work of University of Maryland professor Leigh Goodmark before, and I’m going to again because I cannot put it better than she did on why “get tough” policies don’t work:

Demonizing men who batter prompts simplistic, rhetorically appealing, but hollow “jail them all” laws and policies. Such responses are unrealistic, particularly given how little jail time men who are convicted of battering actually serve, and are unlikely to prompt behavioral change. They do, however, allow policymakers to ignore the complexity of why men batter and avoid the question of how to stop abusive behavior.

The NFL wants nothing more than to not talk about what it can do to change player behavior because, in some ways, it can’t. Do you look at Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and think, “That is a man who respects women?” What would you take away from learning that Jones was your boss and signed your paychecks? That you needed to respect women more? I doubt it.

Goodell—at his best—is a clown put in place to distract from the actual evils of the owners. And due to his actions, you and I and everyone else in sports are going to spend the following months debating whether or not Thompson was a victim, and whether or not she’s credible, and whether this is the one that the NFL “got right” or a repeat of the Duke lacrosse scandal, rather than whether two people in a complex and violent situation—one powerless and vulnerable—are getting the support they need. How is any of this helping battered women, again? How is it helping Tiffany Thompson?