Domestic Violence Double Standards

Domestic violence. Two words that I’ve had to think about way, way too much lately; specifically with regards to Greg Hardy, who I’m also sick of thinking about. But for this article I’m going to bring up another name that you might have forgotten about in the NFL’s domestic violence mini-epidemic.

Ray Rice.

Remember him? The guy who punched his wife unconscious before getting on an elevator in Atlantic City in February 2014. The NFL’s original domestic violence case.

Well, Ray Rice is back in the news with his announcement today that he hopes to someday work for the NFL to raise awareness of domestic violence.

In past articles, I’ve said that I typically want to give athletes the benefit of the doubt with regards to most things. And that being said, I want to believe that Ray Rice has sincere desires to make a positive impact on the NFL in light of his awful mistake 2 February’s ago.

In case you need a refresher on Rice’s story, here you go, cliff notes style.

In February of 2014, Rice and his fiancé Janay Palmer were arrested, detained, and released from jail on charges of a “minor domestic dispute.” TMZ released a video of Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer from an Atlantic City elevator a few days later, and in July the NFL suspended Rice for 2 games. You know, because they need to at least pretend to care.

Then, on September 8th, TMZ released the video of Rice punching Palmer out cold before dragging her lifeless body into the elevator and later dragging her out. The Ravens immediately released Rice hours after the video was released. The NFL then took until the next day to suspend Rice “indefinitely.”

Then came the controversy. The NFL claimed they had never seen the video of Rice punching Palmer until TMZ released it. “You’re telling me that the NFL, one of the most powerful organization on the planet, could not access a video of one of its high profile athletes committing a horrific crime before freaking TMZ could?! Are you kidding me?” I thought.

It was an absolute debacle, both for Rice and the NFL. Rice hasn’t played a down since being released, as he shouldn’t because there is no place in this league for a man who domestically abuses a woman.

But, through all of this, Palmer stood by Rice’s side and supported him. Publicly appearing at press conferences with him, having his back, doing interviews in support of him, even finishing the engagement and getting married.

And though I’m usually not much for athlete apologies, I really did feel for Rice because his remorse was clear and I truly believe he just made a terrible mistake that he’ll regret for the rest of his life.

But Palmer’s remorse also tells me she was nearly equally involved in the incident and feels responsibility for it as well, which doesn’t get talked about in the media because female-on-male domestic violence cases are mostly a joke to the general public. But that’s a different topic for a different day.

And with Rice’s announcement that he is hoping to join the NFL in a role of raising domestic violence awareness is big; big for Rice, and big for the league’s image in trying to come out of a sort of Dark Age in player crime.

But with Rice’s announcement came a sad realization on my part that isn’t remotely surprising, but maddening and unfair.

Right now, the words ‘domestic violence’ seem to be synonymous with Greg Hardy’s name; and that was the first thing that came up in my mind with Rice’s announcement.

I’ve written on the league’s despicable enabling of Hardy solely because he’s a good player, and how unacceptable it is. But at the same time, the league has taken a strong public stand with regards to Rice’s case, suspending him for a really long time in conjunction with all the owners seemingly banding together to not employ him.

So it feels like they’ve done right with the Rice case. But they haven’t. Not even close. Everyone is lacking one key ingredient here.


There is only one reason why Greg Hardy still has a job in the NFL and Ray Rice doesn’t, and probably won’t. It’s because pass rushers are in higher demand and harder to find than running backs these days.

Think about it. Every team in today’s NFL needs a pass rush, it’s imperative to defensive success, and pass rushers are more overvalued than ever. But while every team also needs a running game, running backs have become much, much easier to find; as teams are now finding starting backs in late rounds of the draft and the Patriots just sign a new guy off the street and he runs for 200 yards the same week. So, in today’s NFL, the pass rusher is just worth astronomically more than the running back.

Greg Hardy is a very talented pass rusher, and is being paid and treated as such by the Cowboys, who continue to put up and enable all of his remorseless bullshit that hurts my mind every time he does something new and stupid.

Ray Rice is a talented running back, but running backs aren’t worth a lot anymore, so no team is willing to take the flak that will come with signing Rice when they can just go get another guy that can’t do the job as well as Rice, but won’t have all the baggage and won’t make their team image look so bad.

That, right there, is what’s wrong with the league and why I find myself trying not to like or support the NFL at any opportunity I can get. If a player is talented and can play a vital role, he’ll be coddled and enabled, no matter what kind of shit he puts up.

But if a player, like Rice, isn’t as useful to teams, they won’t even give him a remote glance because the negative pushback that would come from the signing just isn’t worth it to NFL teams’ precious reputations.

Again, let’s look specifically at the cases of Rice and Hardy.

As soon as the video of Rice punching Palmer was made public, Rice was released, suspended, ridiculed, and all good thoughts of him were exiled by the thought police. When the pictures of the injuries sustained by Hardy’s ex-girlfriend after his savage beating of her, the only thing that happened was a bunch of angry bloggers, feminists, and just people in general calling for Hardy’s job.

Did anything remotely close to what happened to Rice happen to Hardy? Absolutely not; in fact, I didn’t hear a peep from the Dallas Cowboys or the NFL after the pictures were released. They just sort of pretended that it wasn’t happening and that all was right with the world.

It’s completely unacceptable that guys like Hardy are enabled, while guys like Rice are spurned and ignored. Have some goddamn consistency and humanity. Have the balls to do what’s right and evaluate both these situations in the same light.

No amount of talent should ever dictate whether or not a player gets punished for breaking the freaking law and committing one of the worst crimes known to man short of murder. That’s just not how this world works.

But it’s how the NFL works. If you’ve got talent, you’ve got a spot in the league, no matter what you do. But if you’re expendable and your position isn’t valued as much as it should be, you better be an absolutely perfect human being, or one slip up and your job is gone.

Should this change? Of course; but will it? Not a chance. Money is king in the NFL, always has been and always will be. That will never change, and Greg Hardy makes the league a lot of money off his talent and merchandise credibility.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is a problem; a serious freaking problem. A problem that would take years to change because it’s deeply rooted in the culture of not just the NFL, but all professional sports.

I’m tired of writing about it, but I know this isn’t the last article I’ll be writing on this subject, and that makes me sad. But still I hold out hope that things can change, and these words will be my last on this despicable subject.

But until next time, I’ll let these be my last words.

God didn’t put men and women on this planet to be enemies, so stop treating them as such. Love each other, and be willing to forgive after an argument or dispute instead of looking to harm to get your point across. Violence is never the answer, in any case.

Thanks for reading…


Domestic Violence Double Standards

The NFL: Hypocrisy and Damnation Galore

DeAngelo Williams, sporting the NFL's trusty pink attire that actually means something more to him than a paycheck and some positive flack
DeAngelo Williams, sporting the NFL’s trusty pink attire that actually means something more to him than a paycheck and some positive flack

In an attempt to salvage at least some of my readers, this is a disclaimer that there will be strong opinions and somewhat offensive language used in this article. I mean, we are talking about the NFL here. So anyway, on with your regularly scheduled programming.

There is a special place in hell for Roger Goodell and anyone else within the NFL front office that makes decisions and helps run, without a doubt, one of the most putrid organizations in the entire world. Seriously, if any other organization in the world even tried half of the shit the NFL pulls, they’d be shut down by a government or there would be military intervention.

Now, what’s got me so upset about the NFL this time? Well, besides the company’s overall lack of ability to even act like decent human beings would, cancer has me upset. Cancer is a total bitch, and I’d like to imagine that not a single soul in this world even appreciates a single bit about it.

So when the NFL does their annual October ‘tradition’, if you will, of letting players wear pink cleats and pink gloves and putting pink ribbons on their fields and having the neat little slogan, “A crucial catch”, it seems all fine and dandy. And having cancer survivors come out onto the field before the game to be recognized by the crowd and aid with opening ceremonies just puts it over the top. Like, good for you NFL, you really get it, don’t you? You’re full of great people who really care about the things that matter.

If you think that, you’re either too young to think for yourself, a hopeless romantic who pretends there isn’t any evil in this world, or someone who’s been so totally brainwashed by the NFL that you blindly accept whatever is thrown at you. The NFL is counting on you being part of the third party, and unfortunately too many of us are.

In reality, the NFL only sort of gives half a rat’s ass about cancer and cancer survivors. What they really care about is trying to uphold their already sketchy, at best, image. And the only thing they care about more than that is money. To me, as a human being, it’s embarrassing and angering. But it’s just the way it is.

Now, what’s got me particularly mad on this occasion is the NFL’s blatant shallowness and lunacy with regards to their recent rulings about DeAngelo Williams and Casey Heyward.

First, Williams. DeAngelo Williams’ mother recently passed away due to the NFL’s favorite money making disease, breast cancer. Without really needing to delve into personal details, Williams’ mother meant a hell of a lot to him, as one would expect, and he was deeply hurt by her loss. So, to honor her, Williams dyed the tips of his dreadlocked hair pink, and wanted to wear pink cleats, not just in the NFL’s standard of October, but all season.

So, in keeping true with their tradition of childish and senseless behavior, the NFL denied Williams that opportunity. DeAngelo Williams will not be allowed to wear pink cleats to honor his mother, who died from the very disease that the NFL ‘supports’ so strongly and profits off of. And it’s just a pair of freaking cleats.

The NFL has a uniform deal with Nike, and requires that all players’ cleats visibly have the Nike symbol on them. Williams would not be breaking that rule in the interest of himself, but since the NFL wants to be as much of an asshole as it can be, they are denying Williams the opportunity to simply, and quietly, honor his fallen mother.

Last weekend on Sunday Night Football, the always sharp announcing team of Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth pointed out Pittsburgh Steelers’ defensive end Cameron Heyward’s unique eye black that night. On one strip of Heyward’s eye black read the world Iron, and on the other strip read the word Head. As Michaels pointed out, this was Heyward’s quiet tribute to his late father, Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward.

Later on in the week, as I expected, the NFL stepped in. Heyward announced, via Twitter, that he had been fined for his eye black tribute and that the NFL would not allow him to do it anymore. Again, really? Eye black? In all seriousness, has anything bad ever transpired because of eye black?

Are these two instances small? Absolutely, but it’s part of a much bigger problem that eternally damns the NFL in my mind. So what’s the big issue here?

During the aforementioned Sunday night game – which both Williams and Heyward happened to be playing in, mind you – a commercial came on. It was one of the NFL’s stupid, ‘Football is Family’ commercials where they try to pretend that they actually care about what football means to their fans. And who was in this particular commercial, talking about the impact that football has had upon his life? DeAngelo freaking Williams.

That’s right, the NFL denied Williams the opportunity to wear pink cleats to quietly honor his mother and raise awareness, yet still had the gall and insensitivity to put him in an NFL produced commercial about the NFL’s impact upon the lives of those it touches. DeAngelo Williams cares about his dear mother, and the NFL is carelessly profiting off of that by having him in a heartfelt commercial, yet won’t let him ACTUALLY honor her by wearing pink cleats to raise awareness for the disease that took her life. That is absolutely damning, and as a man I’m insulted and hurt that a fellow human being could be so heartless and cold.

All you have to do is have even just a little bit of human decency. We are all wired to care about our fellow man, every single one of us. So when a group of people in incredibly high power chooses to care more about a rulebook and a checkbook more than a man – a hurting man, and an employee too – it makes me angry. Damn right it makes me angry.

NFL, we know you don’t really care. We know the only things you care about are your public image – which is already in total shambles because of your complete and total incompetence and inability to have even a little bit of human decency – and your checkbook, already flush with billions of dollars of cash. But can you at least pretend to care?

Can you at least pretend to have the human civility to let two of your employees quietly and humbly honor their fallen loved ones and raise awareness for the disease that you profit from? The only thing you keep hurting is yourself. All of the heat from this keeps falling squarely on you. And speaking of heat, there’s a special brand of heat where you’re all headed.

Thanks for reading…


The NFL: Hypocrisy and Damnation Galore