Let’s start with something incendiary so that I might be able to draw readers in: Ray Rice’s two-game suspension was appropriate, perhaps too harsh.
Alright, now that enough of you are wondering why I believe that, I’ll explain a few things that led me to that conclusion.
The NFL is not supposed to be the justice system. Sure, there have been some outrageous suspensions when players are involved in “stupid crimes.” But the NFL have made these special topics of interest to clean up the perception of the league, having written in harsher punishments into their agreements with the NFLPA. There hasn’t been a domestic violence policy in the NFL before the one Goodell forced through recently (which the NFLPA is still pushing back against since there was no agreement between the two parties). While the court of public opinion has taken the Ray Rice issue and forced the NFL to renegotiate its punishment, it is not a standard occurrence. The NFL has been changing different rules and policies much to the chagrin of its fanbase, but their outcry has never really been observed. Once senators and special interest groups got involed, the NFL changed their tune. Why? The NFL punished him two games (roughly $440,000 in paychecks surrendered if my math is right).
You know who is supposed to be the justice system? The justice system. Instead of getting upset at the NFL for a “weak punishment,” why don’t you get mad at the judge who dealt with the Ray Rice case who sent him to a diversion program which will ultimately result in this case being expunged from his record? I didn’t hear much outcry when that happened, yet I see all over social media how Goodell and Company are covering up a conspiracy of a culture that has leniency for domestic violence.
But doesn’t it seem like society’s actions and attitudes would lead the NFL to believe that we don’t really care about these kinds of crimes? Chris Brown hit Rihanna in 2009. People were “outraged” and up in arms about how “there’s never a reason to hit a woman.” And yet, I can think of three songs that hit the Top 40 since then (I am 99% positive there are more). Not once did I ever hear a woman in the last five years say “change the song, I can’t listen to that woman-beater.”
Kobe Bryant, while the case was dropped, had a sexual assault case brought against him. He admitted that he cheated on his wife, bought her a ring, changed his number from 8 to 24, won a ring for the Lakers, and in the words of Daniel Tosh: “I just hope that when parents let their kids run around in #24 jerseys, they have the decency to say: ‘well come on, number 8 was the rapist. Number 24 has a great work ethic and an unblockable turnaround.'”
Martina Hingis, a decorated female tennis player, allegedly had a coordinated attack on her husband along with her mother and boyfriend. I doubt any of you heard of that or demanded that whoever governs tennis have her suspended from games.
So, I challenge you to look at yourself. Are you going to do something that matters? Are you going to start holding parties that actually have an effect culpable or are you going to be a social media warrior and forget about this in a couple weeks? How many of you are still up in arms about what has happened/is happening in Ferguson, Missouri? Think about all the fads that you got motivated to make changes for and then got distracted by watching cat videos on YouTube.
And don’t lie, because you’re only lying to yourself.