It’s amazing how everyone grabbed their torches and started pounding on the door of the NFL as soon as the video of Ray Rice hitting his wife came out. The general consensus of the viewing public was that we do not tolerate domestic abuse and if you do anything along the lines you need to be banned forever. In spite of this, several NFL players continued to play with similar incidents on their record as well as open cases against them involving situations that were just as severe as the Ray Rice incident.
When it hit the news that players like Ray McDonald, who had recently been charged with domestic abuse, was still going to be playing, fans and media outlets were outraged. How could they allow such a thing? While I agree that these players should be punished for their actions, we are all giant hypocrites. Flocks of people said they would never watch the NFL again because they allowed these men to continue getting paid and participate in the league and ESPN has given numerous employees the platform to stand up and speak against the NFL for supporting these domestic abusers.
Here’s what’s amusing about their “line in the sand” stance they’ve suddenly seemed to have taken:
In July at ESPN’s ESPY awards there was one featured guest that stood out a bit. Recognize this guy?
Is that Chris Brown? Why yes it is. Not only did Chris Brown appear onstage during the awards, he was also featured in a sketch with Blake Griffin and Drake where he introduced himself as, “America’s Sweetheart Chris Brown”, clearly a joke on his troubled past.
In case you need a reminder of what “America’s Sweetheart” did, here are details of his altercation with Rihanna from their police report:
Brown was driving a vehicle with Robyn F. as the front passenger on an unknown street in Los Angeles. Robyn F. picked up Brown’s cellular phone and observed a three-page text message from a woman who Brown had a previous sexual relationship with.
A verbal argument ensued and Brown pulled the vehicle over on an unknown street, reached over Robyn F. with his right hand, opened the car door and attempted to force her out. Brown was unable to force Robyn F. out of the vehicle because she was wearing a seat belt. When he could not force her to exit, he took his right hand and shoved her head against he passenger window of the vehicle, causing an approximate one-inch raised circular contusion.
Robyn F. turned to face Brown and he punched her in the left eye with his right hand. He then drove away in the vehicle and continued to punch her in the face with his right hand while steering the vehicle with his left hand. The assault caused Robyn F.’s mouth to fill with blood and blood to splatter all over her clothing and the interior of the vehicle.
Brown looked at Robyn F. and stated, ‘I’m going to beat the sh– out of you when we get home! You wait and see!’ ”
The detective said “Robyn F.” then used her cell phone to call her personal assistant Jennifer Rosales, who did not answer.
“Robyn F. pretended to talk to her and stated, ‘I’m on my way home. Make sure the police are there when I get there.’
“After Robyn F. faked the call, Brown looked at her and stated, ‘You just did the stupidest thing ever! Now I’m really going to kill you!’
“Brown resumed punching Robyn F. and she interlocked her fingers behind her head and brought her elbows forward to protect her face. She then bent over at the waist, placing her elbows and face near her lap in [an] attempt to protect her face and head from the barrage of punches being levied upon her by Brown.
“Brown continued to punch Robyn F. on her left arm and hand, causing her to suffer a contusion on her left triceps (sic) that was approximately two inches in diameter and numerous contusions on her left hand.
“Robyn F. then attempted to send a text message to her other personal assistant, Melissa Ford. Brown snatched the cellular telephone out of her hand and threw it out of the window onto an unknown street.
“Brown continued driving and Robyn F. observed his cellular telephone sitting in his lap. She picked up the cellular telephone with her left hand and before she could make a call he placed her in a head lock with his right hand and continued to drive the vehicle with his left hand.
“Brown pulled Robyn F. close to him and bit her on her left ear. She was able to feel the vehicle swerving from right to left as Brown sped away. He stopped the vehicle in front of 333 North June Street and Robyn F. turned off the car, removed the key from the ignition and sat on it.
“Brown did not know what she did with the key and began punching her in the face and arms. He then placed her in a head lock positioning the front of her throat between his bicep and forearm. Brown began applying pressure to Robyn F.’s left and right carotid arteries, causing her to be unable to breathe and she began to lose consciousness.
“She reached up with her left hand and began attempting to gouge his eyes in an attempt to free herself. Brown bit her left ring and middle fingers and then released her. While Brown continued to punch her, she turned around and placed her back against the passenger door. She brought her knees to her chest, placed her feet against Brown’s body and began pushing him away. Brown continued to punch her on the legs and feet, causing several contusions.
“Robyn F. began screaming for help and Brown exited the vehicle and walked away. A resident in the neighborhood heard Robyn F.’s plea for help and called 911, causing a police response. An investigation was conducted and Robyn F. was issued a Domestic Violence Emergency Protective Order.”
So let me get this straight; ESPN has no problem condemning the NFL for their lack of punishment on players, but will make light of a musician’s domestic abuse? This was just a few months after Rice’s incident, too. The hypocrisy is almost tangible.
Let’s not just focus on the media; let’s look at ourselves, as well. During your boycott of the NFL, are you also television and movies? Not only have networks and studios continued to employ Charlie Sheen, they’ve made light of his violence and even gave him a show entitled Anger Management. If you’re not familiar with Sheen’s past, his assaults include:
- Shooting Kelly Preston in 1990
- Punching a girl who wouldn’t have sex with him in 1994
- Beat his porn star girlfriend in 1996
- Trying to strangle his wife in 2009
- Choking and threatening to kill a prostitute in 2010
In spite of never really showing any signs of change or remorse, Sheen keeps getting roles. What about Sean Penn? For some reason everyone seems to have completely forgotten the horrific beatings he gave Madonna. Penn got drunk one night, creeped into Madonna’s house, tied her to a chair and beat her FOR HOURS. He would leave and then come back to continue beating her. Despite all of this, he’s won Oscars, Golden Globes, and just about every other award since then.
As a society we behave like animals, jumping from one outrage to the other without any real results. Have you ever seen the 2004 Dawn of the Dead movie? At the beginning Sarah Polley is fleeing from her husband that’s been transformed. He’s charging at her with everything he has, when suddenly he spots another lady standing in her lawn and decides to just go after her instead, completely forgetting about Polley. That seems to be our mentality when dealing with an injustice. We’re completely outraged until something else comes along to distract us. We hop on whatever is trending, so the only thing these monsters have to do to weather the storm is wait a few weeks for the attention to shift elsewhere.
Will Ray Rice be banned forever? I don’t know, but the one message we’ve made clear to these men and women is that we aren’t that committed to changing things. We’ll yell, scream, and change our Facebook profile pictures to a supportive image, but that’s about as far as we’ll go. The NFL will continue to get enormous ratings. Chris Brown will keep winning Grammys and selling out venues. Sean Penn will keep being celebrated as a humanitarian. Until we stand firm in a zero tolerance policy on abusers across the board, things won’t change. The saddest part is that if there were no video of Ray Rice punching his wife, that we saw for ourselves, then we wouldn’t even be having this conversation today. Without that, we really don’t seem to mind.