If you haven't yet, take five and a half minutes and watch the SCATHING Keith Olbermann Special Comment on the Ray Rice fiasco/scandal/tragedy above. You might not like Olbermann or his strident style, but I doubt you could disagree with a damn word he said. Ray Rice? He should never play again, and his ass should be in prison for a nice healthy stretch of time. Roger Goodell, along with top echelon NFL-management, should either resign or be fired. The judges and prosecutors who let Ray Rice off the hook so lightly should also lose their jobs, and the Baltimore Ravens, as an organization, should face punishment for their role in enabling Ray Rice's criminal actions.
Let's be real, Twelves: It's not like our organization is without its own issues in terms of domestic violence. We all think that Ray Rice's behavior wouldn't have been tolerated if he had been a Seahawk, We all think that if OUR star halfback did something like that, PCJS would swiftly cut that piece of crap. They probably would. But what about the allegations against Tom Cable? What about Warren Moon? Sadly those aren't the only examples I could cite from our organization's history. We can rationalize these away: Cable was never charged, and Moon was acquitted. Shit, I KNEW about Moon's actions and still bought his Seahawks jersey 17 years ago. In a small way, I was giving my tacit support to what Moon did.
Olbermann is right about something else too: WE are culpable. Here I slightly disagree with him- We're not culpable because we are NFL fans. We're collectively culpable because of the meager resources available to victims of domestic violence. We're collectively culpable because our criminal justice system is so ineffective in protecting victims and punishing abusers. We're collectively culpable because so many of us fail to understand the psychological terror victims endure, or why it's so hard to leave an abusive relationship, and instead wonder "Why don't they just leave?" We're collectively culpable when we act in ways that perpetuate patriarchy, misogyny and rape culture.
Does that mean that we should stop watching football? Does it mean that we should boycott the NFL? Some people are reaching that conclusion, and on a certain level I can't blame them. I certainly feel a little bit icky about being an unhinged NFL fanatic today. If you're one of those people from the outside who like to take potshots at the game (or call it "sportsball," or deride the "sheeple" who care about it), you will NEVER have more ammunition to use against the NFL than you do today. The league's leadership is rotten. Institutionally, it needs a culture change.
Maybe that culture shift is already happening, though? Sure, the NFL and the Ravens only took decisive action after a public outcry, but it's worth noting that public outcry made the league change course. We DO have the ability to impact the league's behavior. Beyond that, legions of NFL players have taken strong public stances against domestic violence and a wide swath of the league's players support Michael Sam. The NFL isn't solely populated by modern versions of Kurt and Ram from Heathers. I can't fathom denying myself all of the joy the Seahawks bring me every Sunday because Roger Goodell is, as Ace Rothstein called someone in Casino, "Another Dumb Fuckin' White Man." I can't imagine abandoning a HUGE part of my personal identity and the feeling of community I have with my fellow Twelves because Ray Rice is an ambulatory slab of fetid rubbish.
Roughly half of the NFL's fanbase is women, and over the long term the league ignores us and our concerns at their financial peril. Things aren't changing as quickly as we'd hope, but they ARE changing. We must keep the pressure on the league to dump The Rog. We must act in our own communities to help victims of domestic violence and change entrenched, corrosive attitudes towards women. We must take political action to increase protections for victims of domestic violence, and to stiffen punishments for abusers.
In summation: Fire Goodell, Act Locally, Lock Up Rice, and Go Hawks.
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