Here's what bothers me about the Ray Rice punishment: Don't we already have a criminal-justice system?

I agree entirely with Mike Preston ("NFL misses its chance to send a message, July 25) that "Men shouldn't be allowed to physically abuse women and then get a slap on the wrist. Ever." Amen, brother.

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But let's suppose that Mike Preston (or I, when I was working for the Baltimore Sun) committed an act of domestic violence. Once the courts have acted — arguably, in Mr. Rice's case too leniently — may an employer take a second whack at us? If The Sun suspended an employee from writing columns for two weeks and fined him an additional third week's pay — after the legal system had resolved his case — would he not have a pretty good grievance suit?

Why do the professional sports leagues get away with becoming a supplementary, after-the-fact judiciary? Because, we are told, they need to protect their good reputation from the misdeeds of rogue athletes under a "conduct detrimental" clause. And Mr. Rice signed a contract accepting that clause.

Perhaps this is the future. Perhaps The Sun will write such contracts to protect its image from rogue columnists. Perhaps T. Rowe Price will follow suit, perhaps Under Armour? Soon we can abolish the legal system and turn policing and punishing over to employers. It would save tax money.

Hal Piper, Glen Arm

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To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

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