Friday, July 25, 2014

Knocked Out By a Pro Football Player

I've been reading the recent press about  the NFL's response to a brutal domestic violence incident  Ray Rice committed against his then fiancée, now wife. Surveillance video shows him dragging her, seemingly unconscious, out of an elevator. There's  a positive note (miniscule but not insignificant); his violent and criminal conduct in his personal life was deemed a violation of the NFL's personal conduct policy (decades ago this would have been brushed aside as a private matter.)

I usually am reticent to read comments after articles, but this time I think the observations really key into some core issues related to domestic violence. Jane McManus commented, "Last month I interviewed NFL head of HR. He  told me we simply don't tolerate instances of domestic violence."  Sounds like a solid organization values right? But numerous people observed that their actions don't seem to uphold that value.

 Josh Gordon facing a year long suspension for smoking pot.
Ray Rice gets 2 games for beating up his wife. Unreal.
Michael David Smith
Apparently you get suspended longer in the NFL
 for beating a dog than beating a woman.
Jane McManus
Knock a woman unconscious; 2 game suspension.
Smoke marihjuana: 4 game suspension.
Alicia Jessop

Even though we longer tacitly condone domestic violence with the words, 'that's a private matter', I do think when we hear the words 'domestic violence' we still unconsciously reclassify these assaults as less criminal. Punching someone in the face and knocking them unconscious is a brutal act of violence; the brutality is in no way diminished by the fact that this is someone you love.

I wonder if NFL Commish would have been so lenient
 if it had been his daughter or sister
laying unconscious outside that elevator.
Jim Trotter

While many, echo Paul Kuharsky 's sentiments that the  NFL's response as appallingly inadequate,
"Rice suspension is insufficient
 and sends a terrible message about violence against women
 and where it stands in the NFL pecking order of trouble," 

but the NFL is not alone in this messaging.  In fact an  insightful comment by ESPN's Mike Sando, has been haunting me since I read it,
"The NFL's 2 game suspension of Ray Rice
is harsher than the penalty society leveled against him
in the domestic violence case."

Our justice system enabled him to avoid standing trail if he agreed to a diversion program. Perhaps that's  the real crime.


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