I don’t care about world politics and I don’t care much about sports either. War over borders or war over stupid metal trophies — it’s all a bunch of posturing and elitism and people getting hurt. Often civilians.
Take this Ray Rice brouhaha – not at all funny in any way – assault of his fiancee at the time, Janay Palmer. Talk about a can of worms I’d rather not open but will to make a point. (If I get any facts or wires crossed, correct me. SBNation has a full timeline.)
TMZ recently released videos of what he did in the elevator and hallway of a hotel in Atlantic city in February of 2014. (As an aside, I notice much of the coverage of this doesn’t mention Janay by name at all, thereby creating almost a non-person feeling in the reader to care less about her and care more about what happened to the star being named in the piece.)
He was in court over this “incident” in May.
The former Rutgers star walked to the courthouse holding hands with the woman, who is now his wife. He said he is a “happy father and a happy husband.” When asked by reporters what he hoped would happen, Rice responded, “for you all to have a blessed day.”
Rice pleaded not guilty to aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury during the Feb. 15 incident at Revel Casino Hotel.
Go back and watch the videos. I wonder what his definition of assault is if doesn’t include knocking a woman out. The day after he was indicted, they got married. Not to joke about head injuries affecting life decisions but.. well, the whole #whyIstayed bits on Twitter are eyeopening and sad.
Moving on, in July, SBNation reported that he’d been suspended from playing the first two games of the 2014 season. I mean, that’s totally fair. It’s not like he killed a bunch of people or something. Just sit out a couple games and all is well, my friend… Yeesh. Due to his status as a “first timer” (at least on camera) he was granted entry to a:
pretrial intervention program that allows him to have his charges dropped if he stays out of trouble and undergoes counseling.
They note that this slap on the wrist punishment (my words) is given to any player with a first-time conviction of the same crime. NBC notes that 12 NFL players have domestic violence arrests.
Infoplease tells me how many players were in the league as of 2011 (1696) so it’s a small fraction in terms of men able to play on the field. If I can divide 12 players by 32 teams instead I get a more disturbing number: 37% of teams have a man arrested for assault on the roster. Assuming no team has 2 or more of the buggers, of course. Quoting NBC:
Ray McDonald and Chris Cook of the San Francsico 49ers, Tony McDaniel and Kevin Williams of the Seattle Seahawks, Brandon Marshall and Santonio Holmes of the Chicago Bears, Greg Hardy of the Carolina Panthers, Dez Bryant of the Dallas Cowboys, Erik Walden of the Indianapolis Colts, Donte Whitner of the Cleveland Browns, Randy Starks of the Miami Dolphins and Frostee Rucker of the Arizona Cardinals have all been arrested for domestic violence or related charges since 2005, according to a USA Today database that tracks players’ arrests since 2000.
So there is some doubling up. And I include the link to the database for all your sport statistic needs.
Where was I? Ah, right. Rice.
Things changed between the 2 game suspension and now, where he’s cut from the team and indefinitely suspended from play. The video proof of his abusive behaviour pretty much nailed his career’s coffin shut. He can’t even try the other league across the border in the mean time.
The Canadian Football League said Monday night Rice is ineligible to play in the CFL while he is suspended by the NFL.
I would hope so, CFL. Fuck.
All’s well that ends well? No. The NFL players Union wants to appeal the decision to suspend but I have doubts they’ll be successful. But then, America. Who knows what they’ll do.
One argument of the appeal is that an employee can’t be punished twice by his employer for the same offence, “when all of the relevant facts were available to the employer at the time of the first punishment.”
When Goodell announced the indefinite suspension of Rice, he said he hadn’t seen the video of the punch, which he said showed details substantially different from the account Rice gave of what happened in the elevator when he spoke to Goodell about the incident.
Goodell says no one at the NFL saw the video, although reports that the video was sent to the NFL prompted the league to have an independent investigator, former FBI director Robert Mueller, look into the matter.
Also looking into the matter, the NFL has put some women into the mix. One was there already, vice president of community affairs and philanthropy, Anna Isaacson, will be given a new title: vice president of social responsibility.
Additionally, three experts in domestic violence will serve as senior advisors on domestic violence and sexual assault: Lisa Friel, the head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney’s Office, will focus on the evaluation process of alleged violence and assault incidences and will advise Goodell and the NFL staff on law violations. Jane Randel, the co-founder of NO MORE (a national initiative to raise the profile of violence and assault and Rita Smith), and Rita Smith, the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, will work on several related initiatives, including: workplace policy, training curricula, education programs, Employee Assistance Programs and distributing information about resources outside of the NFL as related to these issues.
Is this going to help with the problem? I hope so. The problem is the men getting away with abuse. The problem is the women put into a situation they can’t/or don’t feel like they can easily walk away from. The problem is the education and socialization of these guys who grew up thinking of women as, not just beautiful, but as meat and property and sex objects and punching bags not worthy of respect or dignity. The problem is the education and socialization of boys and girls now being trained to think and believe there is a place for a woman and it’s underneath a man’s fist.
I think, too, if I can comment related to the comments about criticism from my previous post, if we can’t get the domestic abuse out of sports like football and properly punish offenders across the board, not just sports stars, what right do we have as a society to bitch out other cultures for the way they treat women? Sure, the NFL is a microcosm and not representative of society as a whole. After all,
Across the board, NFL players are arrested far less frequently than the general public, with the league’s arrest rate coming in at just 13 percent of the national average for men between the ages of 25 and 29. When looking at specific crimes, though, domestic violence rates are closer to the national average than anything else.
So, that’s fair. Is it because they play football, or is that just basic celebrity status translating into “no bad press for local star”? Is it because of how insanely rich they are compared to Joe Blow and his piece of skanky stuff in the slum district? This isn’t the idiocy of Justin Bieber and his assaults on property – this is about the lives of women who deserve a lot better that they’ve been getting. Everywhere in the world, not just in the arms of NFL champs or wannabees. Every one of them. Everywhere.
I don’t know what else I can say here, or what else needs saying.
(Update 12:06 pm — one thing: This book for sale called Against Football, one fan’s reluctant manifesto by Steve Almond. I’ve flipped through the new copies fresh in at the library and it looks like it’d be an interesting read. Look for it.)