Thursday, 11 September 2014 21:26

Thoughts on the NFL, Domestic Abuse & Violence - No Winners, No Trophies and No Excuses for the Behavior

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Before I delve into issues with the NFL, the bottom line here is the issue with the player. In this case, it's Ray Rice. In the other 50+ cases, it is those individuals. Yes, the league needs to do more - a lot more - with how they handle these situations. But at the end of the day these are adults who have mental health issues that need to be addressed, whether it's a temper that can't be controlled, a view of how women should be treated / accepted, or an inflated ego and sense of entitlement and invulnerability. Is the league responsible for treating that? The team? The Player's Association? Family, friends? That's a bigger question with no simple answer.

Back to the NFL, let's not forget there is a culture of violence within the sport, and the league and its affiliates have a history of accepting and even promoting it. Did we all forget "Bounty-gate" already? Do you believe that was the first time it happened, or just the first time a team got caught? Didn't ESPN used to feature a segment called "Jacked-Up" where it highlighted the nastiest hits of the week? Are other sports inherently violent? Sure. Just ask any current or former NHL player. And they've had issues of player vs. player violence to deal with as well, the Todd Bertuzzi incident being one of the worst.

Just to be absolutely clear, I am in no way suggesting that violence towards other players is the same as violence towards women. But it does point to an undercurrent that violence is part of this sport at the professional level, and when left unchecked - or even worse, when "encouraged" - it feeds on itself and fosters more, not less. When you have no respect for your fellow players it's hard to see how you would have respect for anyone off the field, especially someone who you feel superior to. Does that violence help to sell tickets and grab TV viewers? Hard to argue that it doesn't.

On some level, this does bring up the larger issue of how as a society we have come to idolize our sports figures. While there will never be a valid comparison about which behaviors are worse, the fact is as a collective society we tend to forget about an athlete's indiscretions over time, especially if they keep winning and it's for "our" favorite sport or team. Will a fully remorseful and rehabilitated Ray Rice be welcomed back at some point? It's possible.

Just ask Kobe Bryant. Or Mike Tyson. Or Alex Rodriguez. Or Ray Lewis. Or Oscar de la Hoya. Or Luis Suarez. This could be a long list...

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Read 442 times Last modified on Friday, 12 September 2014 00:27

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