Domestic Violence & Violent Sports
Getting punished for doing bad things. Now, that's a novel idea. At least, for the NFL it is. . . By now (virtually) everyone's seen the punch. The video where Janay Palmer flicks her then-fiancee NFL player, Ray Rice on the neck, and he knocks her out with a blow to the face. Smack! That leaves her unconscious and him dragging out her slumped body, sans shoes. Two weeks ago radio broadcaster, Ted Robinson was suspended by the 49ers for referring to Janay's decision to marry Ray Rice and defend his actions as "pathetic." Yay to the 49ers for acknowledging the insensitivity displayed towards the victim. But that hasn't curtailed the Internet chatter that Rice's punch was in self-defense; that Janay hit him first; that he didn't want to start the fight, yadda, yadda.
The latest to join in that line of attack with cries of "women do it, too" are writers from the New York Times (Juliet Macur) and Washington Post (Cindy Boren) who asked last week why no one is talking about Hope Solo, a goalkeeper for the women's national soccer team who was charged this summer for assaulting her sister and teenage nephew. There is no doubt that Solo's actions warrant prosecution, and she will likely be charged with misdemeanor assault. I also agree that all violence is reprehensible, but point to be noted, milord: It's only the appalling video footage that forced the image-conscious NFL to punish Rice with more than just a wrist slap.
It's true that men are victims of domestic and sexual violence as well, but let's not ignore the facts: 1) one in four women will face domestic violence in their lifetimes; 2) women account for two out of three murder victims killed by an intimate partner and, 3) for far too long and far too leniently has the NFL has ignored the problem in its "own house" (in the inestimable words of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.)
So for all those deluded souls out there, I want to boil it down in terms you understand: This is a small woman. He is a football player. She swats his mouth. He backs her into a corner, and sucker-punches her in the face. Then he drags her limp body across the elevator floor, stripping her of all dignity. Anybody finds this conduct defensible? And for all those shouting "equality", why does it seem that the only time we're outraged that a woman is an attacker, is exactly when there is a public outrage about the violence women experience?
In the words of Jason Whitlock, ESPN.com (post originally published Sep. 8, 2014.): "I did not think sexism could manifest itself this brazenly in 2014. Clearly, I was wrong. Clearly, as it relates to domestic violence and sexism, America has made far less progess than I thought." There it is. Amen.