The NFL is a massive brand, so one assumed the start of a new football season would drive a lot of conversation … about football. But in 2014, the NFL finds itself a key player in debates on topics no one drew up in the huddle. The concussion lawsuits got us talking about brain injuries. The Redskins team name has us reconsidering where we draw the lines when it comes to offensive speech. The Ray Rice elevator incident forced us to think hard about how we discuss and react to spousal abuse. And now, the one-week suspension of perhaps the league’s best player has resurfaced a subject long debated around dinner tables, at schools, and in opinion columns. Is it OK to hit your child? The indictment of Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for “hitting his son with a switch until he left open wounds and welts” has led to divergent opinions on the matter of corporal punishment as a disciplinary tool. For us, a worthwhile topic. For the NFL, just more issue they’d rather not tackle.

+ “It’s set up just like the FBI. Think of the 32 teams as field offices.” Kent Babb and Adam Goldman on the NFL’s elaborate security network that’s supposed to protect the league from trouble.

+ Leslie Morgan Steiner: Here are the times I wish I’d left my abusive husband.