NFL free agent running back Montee Ball, a former draft pick of the Denver Broncos, was arrested Friday after allegedly pushing his girlfriend into a table at a Hampton Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin. Ball was charged with substantial battery by Madison police.
“The woman told police she had a dispute with her boyfriend,” a police source said to the State Journal in Madison. “She said he put his hands on her, picked her up and threw her.”
Ball’s girlfriend ended up with a cut on her leg, which she says came from hitting the table. Stitches were needed. When police arrived on the scene early Friday morning, Ball was reportedly cooperative with authorities, thus avoiding making this mess even more complicated. It is unconfirmed what led to the argument, but none of that really matters when it ends with a player with NFL strength sending a woman through a table.
News of Ball’s arrest comes at a time when the NFL world is largely focused on the devolvement of Johnny Manziel off the field. Like Manziel, Ball entered the league with a certain amount of potential but now struggles to keep a job after slipping out of the picture with his drafted team. Ball slid down the depth chart in Denver and eventually found himself on the New England Patriots’ practice squad in 2015 in December after being cut by the Broncos in September.
The cases of Ball and Manziel are certainly different form a variety of standpoints, but the one similarity is the alleged abuse of women. This has been a significant topic of conversation the NFL has attempted to maneuver through following a rash of incidents involving NFL players mistreating women by violent means, from Ray Rice to Greg Hardy. What should be particularly disturbing for the NFL is seeing a pair of younger players like Manziel and Ball ending up in these types of situations. The NFL can try and try and try again to deliver a message to its players at rookie symposiums and more that there is a right way and a wrong way to treat others, but cases like these continue to leave more of a black eye on the NFL player in general, which is not totally fair.
The NFL should take these incidents and use them as examples for players moving forward in saying this is simply not acceptable behavior for any NFL player, but the blame will always fall more on the individual. Ball only has himself to blame here.