Our Violent World
September 15th, 2014
I donʼt fancy myself a philosopher. However, for years I have always found it somewhat fascinating that within the world we all live on, earth, there are multitudes of other worlds that we all donʼt have access to. We live next to them. We live around the corner from them. We live down the road from them. We just donʼt live in them, despite their close proximity.
This little philosophical thought bubble pops up above my head every now and then. It usually makes itʼs appearance when things like the Ray Rice/NFL/domestic violence saga rears itʼs ugly head.
Weʼve all heard of domestic. It has been identified with more colorful yet callous euphemisms such as “checking her chin”, “setting her straight”, or “putting her in line”. No matter what the phrasing is, we have all heard of it. It has been the topic of magazine articles, books, television shows, movies, and even songs. And not just rap songs, which might be what immediately comes to mind. Dean Martin recorded a song in 1955 called “Open Up The Doghouse”. These are some of the lyrics:There’s just one way to handle a woman Dean, we just got to treat ’em rough We gotta slap ’em, that’s right We gotta show ’em who wears the pants Cut out that sissy, sissy stuff
So as you can see, within our “civilized” world there has been decades of documented examples of how domestic violence seems to be a dark section of our culture. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and just about every ranking NFL official will have you believe that the description of what former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice did to his then fiancee, was markedly different from seeing it on video.
Rice never denied hitting his fiancee Janay Palmer. Palmer never denied that Rice hit her. Prior to Monday, September 8, 2014, everyone saw Rice carrying Palmers lifeless body from the casino elevator in the initially released video. With all those factors in play, one can only conclude that an act of domestic violence had taken place in that elevator.
All of a sudden, when the new video of the actual incident in the elevator surfaces, everyone involved seems to have been slapped in the face with a foreign reality: domestic violence is actually violent.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in every four women in this country will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Females 20-24 are at the greatest risk of being a victim of domestic violence. And most women in the United States are abused by people that are close to them.
Forget about the country. Within the NFL there have been numerous cases of domestic violence reported. Of the 713 arrests of NFL players since 2000, 83 have been for domestic violence. Two other NFL players at this very minute have been charged with domestic violence. Maybe to the NFL brass, domestic violence is just another colorful euphemism.
The forces at work here that seemed to have landed the NFL in this predicament are money and . . . . . no thatʼs it, just money.
Although there are factions out there, including the NFL, who would deny this; the NFL is pretty much just out for the billions. Everything else comes second. They claimed to be so concerned for the former and current players besieged with the debilitating effects of head trauma that they changed game rules and set up ex-player funds. The problem is that they only did those things after they were taken to court on two separate occasions. All the while they were claiming the sport was not to blame for the condition of those men.
Now, they have created an official guideline (where none existed before) for dealing with domestic violence cases. They also increased the punishment for those infractions categorized within these guidelines. The problem is that they only did those things after the video from inside the elevator was released. The NFLʼs explanation? Hearing about domestic violence is different than seeing it.
Many NFL officials and sports journalists who work closely with the NFL claim to be so disturbed by the video, that it understandably prompted the NFL to change their ruling and punishment regarding Rice. Iʼm just wondering what they expected to see on that video from inside the elevator? A rough game of hopscotch?
I have personally witnessed two domestic violence events within my family in my lifetime. Both came when I was a child, and both involved my parents. Interestingly, my mother and father took turns being the victim of the others violent acts. Was that enough to prepare me years later for what I witnessed on that video? I donʼt know. What I do know is that telling me you knocked a woman out and showing me how you did it are equally foul in my brain.
If there is any defense of the NFLʼs actions to be had, itʼs that it is reflective of our society. The really sad part about this story is that in all likelihood it will go the way of Trayvon Martin and the Connecticut school shootings; all but forgotten when something else bright and shiny catches our collective eye.
The NFL is a $10 Billion ($50 billion depending on who you ask) business. Their main focus is not to be the leaders of society. Itʼs not to police the ills of young men. Itʼs not to protect your daughters, wives, mothers, or sisters. Their purpose on this planet is to make sure that $10 Billion stays at 10 or higher. If that means trying to keep women beaters out of jail because they can catch or throw a football; as long as it wonʼt damage their image; thatʼs what they will do.
Our folly as a society is holding these businessmen to ridiculous, unrealistic standards. Keeping Ray Rice off the football field is not going to save your loved ones from domestic violence. That is a much deeper, lengthier, and harder task that we all have to diligently take on. Not just a bunch of immature millionaires and greedy billionaires.
This article was prepared by the author in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of Wes Point Urban Media Management.