Disgust and shame.
I was (and still am) disgusted that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell handed Rice what I felt was a light punishment – a slap on the wrist no less. I was (and still am) disgusted that violence against women is not taken as as seriously as violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
And I do not care if Josh Gordon was a repeat offender in the substance abuse department – he didn’t knock out any women along the way.
And by the way, I am also disgusted that this young sister decided to become Rice’s wife. What message will that send to their child? That it’s ok for a man to strike a woman when engaged in a quarrel? That it’s ok for a woman to accept abuse from a man acting strictly on cowardice?
I felt shame for being an rabid fan of a league that is run by a commissioner who obviously could give two damns about violence against women. I felt shame for being a fan of a team (the Steelers) whose starting quarterback has a history of sexual assault against women, though he has never been charged.
And while the uproar over that “punishment” is growing louder, there are people out there – mainly men – who have come to Rice’s defense.
I’ve heard the tired chorus: “we didn’t know what happened on the elevator.” Another gem I’ve heard was “maybe she provoked him by hitting him first”.
Those folks needed to be drug-tested, plain and simple.
What if that young lady was a sister or daughter of theirs’? Would those same morons still cling to those same stupid-ass arguments? I’m guessing that would not be the case.
There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING, that justifies a man putting his hands on a woman. Even if Rice’s fiancée at the time was throwing haymakers at him, that still does not give him – or any man – the right to strike a woman.
There were many ways that Rice could have prevented the situation from escalating (and yes, the responsibility lies on the man to be the bigger person). Talk it out. Listen to her. Once she starts swinging grab her arms and wrap her up. Last I checked, dude is an NFL player who takes punishment from defenders for a living. There was no way in hell a girl that slight in frame could get out of his arms if he wrapped her up.
I am concerned that there are some powerful men in this league who did not send the proper message to Rice for his actions. Ravens coach Jim Harbaugh, while saying mostly the right things in his press conference concerning Rice, clumsily said that Rice is “one heck of a guy.” Really coach?
And why haven’t Ravens ownership stepped in where Goodell failed by adding more games to the suspension followed by a hefty fine to be donated to women’s shelters in the Baltimore area? The team is allowed to suspend a player up to four games per the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Maybe they will, though I am not holding my breath.
And speaking of Goodell, he had a chance to make a strong statement to the players and society at large: that the NFL does – and will always – take violence against women seriously. If he is as serious as he lead on concerning growing a female fan base, he may have embarked on pissing away that opportunity.
And that in and of itself is a damn shame.