By now, you’ve likely heard about the Ray Rice domestic violence situation in the press and the NFL’s systematic fumbling of the investigation from the get-go.

The lack of a proper investigation has been unraveling into a greater discussion of women, the role within sports, within the NFL and it’s fan base.

And I can tell you, we can do better.

The public expects a lot out of the NFL, as it should. Outside of the government and the IRS, the NFL could be considered one of the most powerful companies in the world.

It’s time for the league to start leading the way.

The Fish Stinks At the Head

Like it or not, anytime a major company suffers as massive of PR mess, like the NFL has gotten itself into, failure falls at the top of that chain of command.

Roger Goodell has ruled this league with an iron fist. But NFL has had over 80 domestic violence incidents since Roger Goodell was appointed.

It’s not to say that the NFL is the only league with a domestic violence problem, frankly it’s a social problem, but the NFL is the most powerful and can make the most impact.

Not only has Goodell attempted to sweep this issue under the rug as he had with the concussion issues, but he’s lied about the case on every level from the very get-go.

Kieth Olberman put it brilliantly when he said the NFL did not wait patiently for law enforcement to gather the Patriots’ Spy-gate tapes or during the Saints’ bounty-gate scandal. Goodell has former CIA and FBI agents employed within the NFL.

This entire situation has also brought to light the role of women both working for the NFL and the ones that cheer for the sport.

Cheerleaders are paid around $70 a game and don’t have a right to team benefits, despite practicing as long as 6 hours a day. Most are also expected to pay for their own hair, makeup and gym memberships which are required as part of the job. If they speak up about it, they’re replaced.

Most women aren’t allowed to actually analyze the NFL, much less sports in general. As Katie Nolan said, it’s time for more media members (Fox, ESPN, CBS etc..) to respect that women have an opinion on sports and don’t need to be limited to sideline reporting or tossing it back for commercials.

In a study GuysGirl conducted almost two years ago, we found the surprisingly low amount of women employed at the senior level within all NFL teams. As many has 5 didn’t have a single female executive employed and as many as 9 teams only had one executive, that was usually in a marketing or financial role.

….But the NFL is still going to sell you those pink jerseys come October to prove they care about us!

How do female fans get past this?

Even on our Helmets and Heels radio show Tuesday night, it was our most passionate discussion to date and there was just an overall feeling of inadequacy felt by a sport and league we love so much.

But there are actions that need to be taken to address both domestic violence and the role of women within the NFL:

–New commissioner. Goodell has got to and the owners need to make it apparent that this kind of lying and coverup on important issues will not stand.

–More training at rookie symposiums and within teams with professional advice on how to deal with stress, anger and domestic violence.

–Employing more women executives within the NFL and within teams. Require a “Rooney rule” of sorts that forces teams to at least interview a qualified woman for any leadership/executive positions.

What can YOU personally do?

–As much as the NFL has gotten it wrong lately, some things, like the below commercial, they’ve gotten right.

–Keep voicing your opinion. Our voices are being heard, but it’s time to keep the pressure on.

–The NFL purse ban last year was stupid. Every female fan knew it. But you can still outsmart the system (Johnny Bag).

–And lastly, keep enjoying the game. Just like Ray Rice doesn’t encompass the Ravens, Roger Goodell does not represent this entire league.