Late summer and early fall is an exciting time of the year for sports fans. Baseball playoff spots are looming and football at all levels is beginning. If you add in the Ryder Cup and the PGA it is almost as good as Christmas for a kid.

Yes, sports plays a big role in our society. It seems to follow the same ups and downs of everyday life. I realize that a sports column is not necessarily the place to address the problems of society. It just occurs to me that we may place too much emphasis on sports heroes.

Maybe this is the time to look at the total picture. The Ray Rice issue has been on the front page of every sports page for several weeks. We now know that he physically abused his (now) wife and the act has played at least a thousand times through the media. Child abuse and domestic violence are despicable acts with no room for even a gray area.

Anyone involved in such acts are cowards who are lower that whale waste. It is difficult to believe the almighty NFL punished Rice with a mere two-game suspension. I realize Commissioner Roger Goodell had his hands tied to a certain degree. He indicated that the decision was based upon a lack of filed court charges and the union contract dictated guidelines to be followed.

A difficult aspect of any organization is always to police policies. The most difficult situations I faced as activities director was to discipline and/or dismiss athletes. However, I fail to see the equity – Terrell Pryor was suspended for five games as a consequence for selling his college jerseys before he even entered the league, while superstar Ray Rice is guilty of knocking out his girlfriend (now wife) and is only required to miss two games?!

No doubt the mumbo-jumbo of the legal world played a major role, but what about right and wrong? Both of these acts are wrong, but how is it ever acceptable for a pro football player to deck a female? If Ray Rice and been caught using performing enhancing drugs he would have been given at least a four-game suspension.

Is it more serious to use a drug to gain a competitive edge over your competitor or is it just less offensive to commit an act of domestic violence?

The situation obviously should not be just cause to kick Rice out of the league – it was a mistake on his part that will follow him the rest of his life. Although a two-game suspension seems to be a weak punishment, hopefully it will be a teachable moment for him, his family and his friends.

The NFL missed this one by a mile. The NFL shield let us down. Let’s hope in the near future that the NFL will invest time and finances to thwart domestic violence and create programs to assist individuals with such problems.

The NFL needs to move quickly to correct the unpleasant taste left in everyone’s mouths over such a light sentence. The NFL and Ray Rice have an opportunity to right the wrong with just a few positive moves in the right direction.

Like it or not, star athletes become role models. We just need to bear in mind that they are still subject to human mistakes. The moral of this story is that I have two daughters and two granddaughters and I cannot even fathom that they might be harmed by a male counterpart. The NFL commissioner definitely STRUCK OUT on this one!

• This year’s Suburban Big Six Conference in high school football should be amazing. The league will consist of Blue Springs (last year’s Class 6 state champion), Lee’s Summit West (last year’s Class 5 state champion), Blue Springs South (which has won two state championships), Raymore-Peculiar (which has won two Class 5 state championships), Lee’s Summit (who has the most recruited athlete in the area at quarterback in Drew Lock) and Lee’s Summit North (which is trying to retool their program). When you add in non-conference games with teams like Rockhurst, Fort Osage and Staley, the state championship game looks like a pre-game scrimmage. If you enjoy high school football, this conference will be fun to watch. I cannot wait for the opening kickoff on Aug. 22.

• The Chiefs injury situation in the secondary, particularly at the safety position, has to be a big concern for Coach Andy Reid and the team.

• Billy Butler, a full-time first baseman because of the Eric Hosmer injury?! We will now see how important Hosmer’s glove was to this defense. Oh Billy, oh Billy!

• Love this quote from coach Bobby Knight: “Mental toughness is to the physical as four is to one.”

Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 5-6 p.m. every Thursday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at