Does Boozing Cost Twice as Much as Beating Your Wife if You Work for the NFL?

SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 17: Kicker Matt Prater #5 of the Denver Broncos walks through the tunnel before the game against San Francisco 49ers during a preseason at Levi's Stadium on August 17, 2014 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Noah Graham/Getty Images)
Kicker Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos.
Noah Graham/Getty Images

Is knocking back a cold one twice as bad as knocking out your wife if you work for the NFL?

Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater was issued a four-game suspension after alcohol was found in his most recent blood sample, according to the Denver Post. Prater was charged with a DUI in 2011, which led to the NFL checking his random drug tests for alcohol as well. According to the Post, Prater’s lawyer Harvey Steinberg said the player had a few pops while at home, but that was enough to violate the terms of the agreement:

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“No one feels worse about this than Matt Prater,” Steinberg said. “He feels terribly for his teammates. It’s cost him personally, both professionally and financially. I wonder if we shouldn’t take a second look at the policy when only a couple beers were consumed at home while he was on vacation. Having said that, the NFL under the constraints of the policy couldn’t have treated us better.”

Matt Prater decided to have a beer or two, and it cost him four games. Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice allegedly knocked his wife unconscious in a hotel elevator, and he gets two games, accompanied by a chorus of NFL apologists singing the praises of the “tough lesson” Rice will learn during his two-week break.

What’s more, Prater’s four games is already a reduced sentence, according to The Washington Post. The league was set to suspend Prater for a full year before reducing his punishment to four games.

Is the NFL sending the message that drinking a beer after your DUI is eight times as bad as beating your wife?

Prater’s eventual punishment—doled out at a 75 percent discount—is still double the suspension for a domestic violence first offense.

None of this is to suggest Prater should not be punished for drinking after he was arrested on a DUI. If anything, the drastic reduction in his penalty is worth closer scrutiny. But if you were raised Catholic, you are no doubt familiar with the phrase “Deeds not words.” And by that standard, the NFL has proven once again that it just doesn’t care when it comes to domestic violence.