Jul 28, 2014

Rant & Rave: The NFL Scores Yet Another Touchdown For Sexism

So much shitty stuff has been going on in the NFL recently that Keith Olbermann drummed up a brilliant and epic rant against them (and the sports world in general) highlighting in fiery finesse the glaring fact the League hates women, but loves their money instead. The catalyst for his rant is over the pointless two-game suspension for Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice, who earlier this year punched his then-fiancee Janay Palmer and then, as seen through surveillance cameras, was caught dragging her limp and unconscious body out of a hotel elevator. With all the unsettling visual evidence of the incident, the NFL collectively shrugged their shoulders and took a swig of Gatorade over the ordeal, because it's just another day in misogyny paradise for them.

Not surprised we should be of the NFL's actions, as they have a notorious history of crime makers. Lots of illegal drug possessions, lots of DUIs and DWIs, and lest we forget animal abuse and well, flat-out murder. NFL players aren't exactly America's finest and we need to stop treating them as such. Still, looking at the facts just exemplifies Olbermann's point that it's the domestic violence crimes that get overlooked and are dealt with the lightest of reprimands, as Rice's "punishment" is nothing more than a two-day vacation.

ESPNW's Jane McManus discovered that the NFL wants you to believe they take the issue of domestic violence seriously:
"Any incident of domestic violence is really one too many," NFL VP of human resources Robert Gulliver told espnW recently. "Whenever these instances come up, I would say it's tragic and there's obviously a very swift move to address the issues with multiple parties being involved. We take these issues very seriously. Our security department gets involved, our management counsel gets involved, club staff gets involved and we just simply don't tolerate instances of domestic violence."  
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington was sentenced to a year of probation for assaulting the mother of his child. He's suspended from the NFL for this season -- for a second violation of the league's substance abuse policy. The NFL may say it doesn't tolerate domestic violence, but until the league puts its money where its players' fists are, those words are utterly empty.

Not even close, NFL...
Exactly. Trotting out the color pink when breast cancer awareness takes place in October or having a stylish line of football regalia aren't equivalent to throwing a coat over a puddle so a woman can cross, NFL. Chivalry isn't your strong suit when you've got player, after player, scooping up assault and battery charges with little regard, and when you believe pot possession and yes, even taking a fertility drug, are worse offenses than physically attacking a woman.

Another thing that has occurred concerning the Rice incident is that Palmer is zeroed in as the true perpetrator as its been alleged that she threw the first hit at Rice. This prompted such misguided mansplaning from ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, who, while making a valid point that 'all actions have consequences', still continued to divert attention away from the real issue --- that there is still ZERO excuse for a man to beat a woman unconscious and drag her across a floor. From my standing, Palmer did not "provoke" her beat-up, a woman doesn't have the luxurious option to "provoke" what attacks come her way --- she's toast whether she's slinging elbows, dishing salty words, or staying mum and idle. Violence or no violence, man: 1; woman: 0. Even women like Whoopi Goldberg (who forgets she played Celie in The Color Purple in her quest to defend horrible men on The View) don't get it either, as she attempted to explain and side with Smith, piggybacking on the irresponsible idea that women (not men) are at a cause for the abusive actions pelted upon them, especially if they were the ones who enacted the altercation to begin with.

Once again we are giving women how-tos and lectures on how to prevent violence upon themselves, and no, this is not proactive advice, this is wagging fingers and promoting sexism. Why do women always have to be instructed? Why are we the ones always told to police our actions when often times the harsher punishment is placed on us? Why can't we teach men restraint and control in order to not have things escalate to a violent pitch? Remember the elevator fight seen 'round the world a few months ago where Solange pretty much got her karate kid on with Jay Z? Yes, Solange was in the wrong for what she did, but Jay Z (of all people) showed restraint as no punches or slaps were thrown towards the irate woman. He knew better. Other men like Rice need to learn to know better.

It does give pause that Palmer even went on to marry Rice after the incident, which is something I wouldn't do, but this is just another facet that prances on the hot coals of domestic violence and its labyrinthine workings. This is plainly obvious as during a press conference back in May, the couple addressed the incident, and well, Rice didn't apologize to Palmer to prove he is truly sorry for what he did to her, oh, no, he apologized to his team and to his bosses. That declaration right there reeks of arrogance and gleams on how money steps over and downplays women's rights and their dignity, as well as perpetrates the cycle of abuse that victims, like Palmer, find themselves in.

Quiet as its been kept, this incident also megaphones the consistent ways that Black women are demoralized and hung out to dry in the media after becoming victims to abuse. If Rice had assaulted a white woman in this fashion there is no doubt a heftier sentence would have been enacted. Hell, even a possible removal from the team and the franchise as a whole would have occurred, and to garnish that fail taco, Rice would've had to apologize on a national stage a la Tiger Woods. As much as all women stand under the same feeble umbrella of 'safety' that the NFL extends, Black women are at the fringes of this conversation still getting rained on and soaked the most.

The '90s line-up of Cowboys was the last time I gave a damn about professional football, because I grew up and wised up to the fact that the NFL always had a Heisman trophy stance when it came to women. It was a palm-out stop sign to say "back off, you are not allowed to cross this he-man threshold" and well, I walked away. Still other women don't walk away, as it was reported recently that 45% of women adore the NFL, and with that, influence nearly 70% of all purchases. As expected, the NFL has so graciously rubbed their hands and noticed this statistic.

With that being said, women can do what they want with their money, but still women and especially all NFL fans who care about women, need to wake up and maybe start taking their money elsewhere, unless funding domestic abuse is your kind of goodwill towards all (wo)man.

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