NFL and Domestic Violence
I just recently read a news article about a National Football League Ravens player, running back Ray Rice, who was caught on a Casino camera dragging his unconscious wife off an elevator, who he had apparently beaten. The football player was punished by not being allowed to play in only two games, comparable to the punishment of another player for safety violations in a game. It also gave a comparison with the punishment of a player who had been cited for his use of marijuana who was not allowed to play for a whole season. I find it appalling that a player who beats his wife would receive the same punishment as a player who made a safety violation in a football game and has been punished much less than one who uses marijuana. U.S. senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin sent a letter to commissioner Roger Goodell, decrying the leniency of Rice’s punishment.
Domestic violence punishments are apparently left to the discretion of the commissioner, who defended Rice saying that it was his first offense. What Goodell needs to understand is that it was the first time Rice was caught, not necessarily his first offense. Most women do not report a first incident. There are usually several before any incidents are reported. As a victim myself, I know this all too well. As a survivor of domestic violence, I would say to commissioner Goodell, Domestic violence is real life, it’s not a game! Though safety violations and marijuana use are both highly irresponsible behaviors, domestic violence is a much more serious crime that hurts, disfigures, and murders many women at the hands of the perpetrators. In addition to the leniency of the Rice incident, the NFL has also completely overlooked the punishment of Carolina Pro Bowl defensive end Greg Hardy who attacked his ex-girlfriend in May 2013 and is awaiting trial. The article I read went on to tell that 77 players had been cited in 85 domestic violence incidents over the last few years. Only six of those players were actually cut from their teams. I guess they believe the value of their players are worth more to them than the value of the women they harm. That the NFL commissioner Goodell doesn’t see fit to acknowledge the seriousness of the crime of domestic violence and who downplays it to this degree is unfathomable in this day and age.
The NFL and its players are set up as examples to our young men growing up and when this type of behavior is tolerated by a professional organization of renown such as the NFL, what does it say to our young men about how they can treat their wives and girlfriends? It tells them that domestic violence is tolerated to a degree and that it is really not that important to qualify a serious consequence. What the NFL needs to tell the young men that they have such great influence over is that they, as a professional organization, will not on any level tolerate their players committing acts of domestic violence against the women they have relationships with and that those who commit these heinous crimes will be punished appropriately.
But as apparently the NFL has a low standard where domestic violence is concerned and they seem to be willing to tolerate this type of behaviors from their players, I propose we hit them where it hurts (pun intended), in their wallets. I propose that anyone who believes domestic violence is wrong in any degree and should be punished appropriately boycott future NFL games and refuse to support this Neanderthal type of attitude from those men who have such great influence on the hearts and minds of our young men. The Gov. of Maine has called for a boycott of the football league and I believe we should stand with him on this deadly important issue. And by default, anyone who shows up at their games has become complicit in their toleration of this real war against women, domestic violence!