08/29/2014 11:57 EDT | Updated 08/29/2014 11:59 EDT

NFL Domestic Abuse Rules Getting The Wrong Focus By Many Fans

In this Aug. 16, 2014, photo, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice (27) carries during an NFL preseason football game against the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas. Ravens running back Ray Rice is sitting out two games for domestic violence. A positive marijuana test, meanwhile, means Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon will miss a full year. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

In light of the announcement that the NFL would implement harsh punishments for those in the league found committing domestic abuse on Friday, many applauded this as a step forward for an important issue.

As Benjamin Morris at Five Thirty Eight determined, domestic violence is by far and away the most common crime committed by NFL players, and is particularly significant when looked at in relation to comparable populations.

But for some fans, it wasn't about the violence inflicted on the girlfriends and wives of players, who are usually the victims of these kinds of crimes. Instead, they focused their energies on the NFL's one openly gay player and wondered, "How will this affect Michael Sam's boyfriend?"

As it turns out, some fans believed Sam would get away with beating up his partner.

While domestic abuse can unquestionably also mean violence against men, by either a male or female partner, this focus on the one person in the league who publicly has a same-sex partner seems to miss the point of the decision entirely.

After all, this came about after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell realized the error of being so lenient with Ray Rice, who was given only a two game suspension after a video emerged of him dragging his then-fiancee (now-wife) Janay Palmer out of an elevator. She was unconscious following a fight between the couple.

Statistics show one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime, and that is simply not tolerable. The NFL has done a great service to those affected by domestic violence by demonstrating how seriously it takes the crime (a six game suspension for the first offense, and if a second occurs, an indefinite ban to the employee or player). Now it's on them to keep the conversation going.

Also on HuffPost

How To Help A Victim Of Domestic Abuse