MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – Although last week marked one of the most contentious and dark weeks in the history of the National Football League, many in Mount Vernon decided their love of the game trumps the controversies that have been casting a shadow over the league.
The week started with football and non-football fans alike discussing domestic violence issues and the fall of New Rochelle-native Ray Rice, who was released from his contract and suspended indefinitely after videos surfaced of him punching out his then-girlfriend in an Atlantic City elevator.
As the week unfolded and tempers continued to flair, Bronxville resident and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saw his credibility come under fire as fans and national organizations lambasted him for his poor handling of the Rice situation, calling for his job.
Just when things looked like they couldn’t get any worse for the league and Goodell, Minnesota Vikings star running back Adrian Peterson was accused of abusing a pair of children, beating them with switches to discipline them. Peterson sat out Sunday’s game, but as of Tuesday, was scheduled to start for the Vikings when they travel to New Orleans to face the Saints later this week.
Despite all of the backlash the league has suffered in the past few weeks, Mount Vernon football fans weren’t prepared to give up on the game that has become America’s most popular sport.
“Maybe it’s not politically correct, but me not watching the Giants on Sunday would have no negative impact on anybody besides myself,” Robby Gould, a former high school player, said in Mount Vernon. “It’s been a bad few months, but these are only a few people in a big league.”
Things came to a head earlier this week, when several elected officials in Minnesota called out team owner Zygi Wilf for reinstating Peterson. This came after his jerseys were taken off the shelves at certain sporting goods stores and Anheuser-Busch, one of the league’s most prominent and lucrative sponsors, issued a statement expressing displeasure about the handling of domestic violence and child abuse cases.
On Tuesday, the Radisson hotel chain suspended its sponsorship from the Vikings.
“I don’t think the NFL does anything unless their wallets take a hit, and that’s not happening with how popular it is. They’re untouchable,” Derrick Wilkes said. “It’s a black eye, but if they had just handled the situation right from the beginning, a lot of this could have been avoided.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.