Tag Archives: Domestic Violence

With Roger Goddell’s New Rule, Ray Rice & Adrian Peterson; Will African-American NFL Athletes Become a Bigger Target of Aggressive Victims?


Don’t think for one second you’ve misread the title of this article incorrectly Ladies and Gentlemen. It would also be in your best interest not to misinterpret what you are about to read. I was actually going to release this article a few weeks ago in response to the NFL’s new domestic violence policy; however, in lieu of what has transpired last week with now former Baltimore Raven’s running back, Ray Rice and his wife, Janay Rice—and the NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell—I had to go back to the drawing board. This incident not only reminded America on how truly dehumanizing domestic violence really is; rather, when it comes to having an honest discussion about domestic violence; as a nation, it is still a one-side issue. Millions watched as the TMZ video went viral in a matter of hours on this past Monday showing the graphic elevator confrontation between Ray and his then fiancé, Janay Palmer (since married). Almost immediately it was trending all over social media (and still is), press, radio, local and national news as it became not just news, but breaking news interrupting several televised programs. The video was so huge; it even drew the attention of the certain congressmen down in Washington, D.C. The court of public opinion was already disgusted with the original ruling of a 2-game suspension for the now troubled running back, Ray Rice. But after TMZ, (which is a celebrity gossip magazine for crying out loud) was able to get a hold of the footage that Commissioner Roger Goddell seemingly couldn’t; the uproar for the dismissal of Rice—and now Goddell—grew exponentially. With domestic violence and sexual assault now taking precedent over the actual NFL games themselves; you would think the victim in all of this—Janay Rice—all of sudden became the unofficial voice for domestic violence victims everywhere. Instead, Janay stuns all domestic violence advocates and supporters with a startling message from her Instagram account in defense of her husband.

Since the disturbing video of Ray Rice was released nearly two weeks ago, critics ranging from sports reporters, pundits, and most notably the National Organization for Women otherwise known as N.O.W., have all but demanded Roger Goddell’s head on a silver platter insisting his resignation immediately. This also comes in light of new developments reported by the Associated Press that NFL Headquarters was in fact aware of the full Ray Rice video leaked by TMZ last Monday. While Goddell maintains his innocence, the league has decided to hire former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III, to handle an independent investigation to see if indeed Commissioner Goddell knew about the entirety of tape prior to last Monday. The NFL is now facing immense scrutiny for allowing San Francisco 49ers defensive end, Ray McDonald and Carolina Panthers defensive end, Greg Hardy, to play in their season openers while McDonald hasn’t been charged in his domestic violence altercation; however, Hardy was charged in his as of July this year. The Panthers have since placed Hardy on the “exempt list” pending Hardy’s appeal in his case involving his ex-girlfriend. Whew, can we finally say we are ready for some football, right? “Not so fast my friend!” As popular commentator of ESPN’s College Game Day, Lee Corso would utter. As week two approached, the league was hit with yet another blow involving one of its most marketable superstars. Minnesota Vikings star running back, Adrian Peterson, was indicted on felony child abuse charges stemming from a whipping in which Peterson disciplined his son with tree branch; commonly known to black folks as a switch. At first, the Vikings stood behind their all-pro running back; but when advertisers such as Nike, started to back off of Peterson, the Vikings soon joined the party. There also seems to be yet another allegation of child abuse from another one of Peterson’s baby mother’s as well. But for now, the all-pro running back has been placed on the exempt list as well pending his sentencing for the child abuse charges that occurred in 2013.            259915_5_

Now with the media pressure at an all-time high due to Peterson’s child abuse charges, Goddell, (feeling obliged from sponsors such as McDonald’s, Visa, Anheuser-Busch and Fed Ex) was again forced to react. Even after he modified the league’s domestic violence policy, the issue of child abuse (which is also included in the domestic violence policy btw) has lit a fire across America in regards to what is and what isn’t an appropriate way to discipline your children. Reports say Peterson has acknowledged his mistakes but feels he has done nothing wrong due to the fact of it was how he was raised. With the NFL’s most prolific running back now indefinitely sidelined, Goddell tried to ingratiate himself among his female fanbase by hiring a distinguished group of women to oversee the affairs in the league involving domestic violence and sexual assault. Among the accomplished group of women Lisa Friel, Jane Randel, and Rita Smith; the most noteworthy is former White House Official Cynthia C. Hogan, naming her Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs. While this may be an astronomical leap for the league for allowing a woman’s voice to be heard in a significant way involving domestic violence and off the field issues; we must remember one thing: the league and its player’s is overwhelmingly 66% black. And with the league’s attempt to solve its domestic violence issue; it left out an important demographic of people that suits the narrative: the black woman.

When it comes to the African-American community, sadly black women experience intimate partner violence (IPV) rates 35% higher than their white counterparts and 2.5 times the rate of men and other races. Yet when the NFL chose to elect female authoritative voices they disregarded the voice that impacts most of the league’s players the most. The group called “The Black Woman’s Roundtable,” has expressed its frustration with not including an African-American woman’s voice in the NFL’s attempt to clean up violence towards women as ABC News reports:

“However, your lack of inclusion of women of color, especially black women who are disproportionately impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault; and the fact that over 66% of the NFL players are made up of African-Americans, is unacceptable..”

Not allowing an African-American voice to an apparent African-American issue (as the liberal media is propagandizing it) is utterly disrespectful knowing that it was an African-American woman–Janay Rice–who was at the fore front of this whole debacle. Unfortunately, this maybe the point at which some African-American readers may vehemently disagree with me; but on behalf of many ‘brotha’s’ out there who love our sista’s I would be remised if I didn’t mention the aggressive and abusive tendencies many African-American women engage in when it comes to our relationships. This is in no way an excuse for black men to go oops upside a black woman’s head; however, it’s also not an excuse for black women to go carte blanche on a black man in the midst of a domestic dispute either. I’m only speaking from the black perspective because I’ve seen an abundance of overly aggressive black women not only confront or verbally abuse their men, but physically abuse them as well. This is the core of my problem with this whole ‘domestic violence’ issue—especially–when it comes to the lack of culpability that black women play when it comes to domestic disputes. What seems to be the liberal media’s attempt to remind America that black men are nothing more “brutes and thugs,” you have black women (and black men) television personalities being propagated as staunch advocates against domestic violence and child abuse—while putting the guilty under the bus. Unfortunately, just like Ferguson, we as a community (so-called) only get outraged when the predominately white media is involved with a societal epidemic that not only affects people humanistically; but it took a black face (Ray Rice) to make the problem germane.

Please don’t get it twisted because I whole-heartily agree that if a man abuses a woman, he should be punished as applicable to law. However, I am NOT blind to the facts that many of our women are just as abusive in the relationships they encounter as well. See, a month and a half ago, Stephen A. Smith tried to balance out this issue over the democrat controlled airwaves of ESPN on his show called First Take. Only to no avail due to a colleague of his (Michelle Beadle) taking to Twitter venting her displeasure with Smith’s comments involving the word “provocation,” Even with all of the hoopla turned importance surrounding domestic violence, it continues to be a one-sided issue; which once again portrays women as weak, innocent victims and men as out of control brutes.. Some of y’all may not like my assertion about this dilemma (which domestic violence is important btw), but all I see is a political, feminist narrative being pushed for women to have just as much as a voice (and power) in what is called America’s favorite sport, pro-football; in what they call a bridging of the gap when it comes to gender equality. Simply stated, they want their voice to count.

While gender equality is not the reason why I did this article, the promotion of black men being public enemy number one is. Trust me; I’m not excusing any abuser of women and or of children. However, what I won’t put up with or stand for, is allowing the media to tell black people not only how to raise our children; but to propagandize and leave an impression that black men are not only a menace to society; but a threat to his family as well. Just remember how much the black athlete is perused  even after he’s paid for his crime a la Michael Vick (who is still berated by apparent animal rights activists). Could you imagine if Rice or Peterson were to return to the league next year? Even while I’m finishing this article, there have been yet two more NFL athletes who have been brought to the media’s attention involving domestic violence: the Chicago Bear’s wide receiver, Brandon Marshall (on an old charge btw) and Arizona Cardinal’s running back, Johnathan Dwyer.

So this leads me to my most arguable, controversial, and contentious question yet. Will women (specifically black women) use not only Goddell’s new rule as leverage against African-American football players; but with the help of feminist organizations such as N.O.W. and the women involved with domestic violence and sexual assaults for the league—as a way to control not just football players, but to send an eerie message to men in general? Please understand my intent is not to point the finger, but to call attention to what could happen when we give a group of people too much power. Or maybe I should just remain naïve because with the help of feminist organizations maybe they will finally bring men and women together to further better an egalitarian in pro football.

There’s just one problem; I’m no fool.   1410992544000-EPA-USA-NFL-DOMESTIC-ABUSE-67319630

Fortunately, there is a phrase that says, “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” so I believe not only black players will be targeted and extorted by the likes of so-called woman advocates (many who are really feminist) like Gloria Allred; but I’m reminded of a crooked system that’s already used to screw men in general.

And it’s administered through the family court system.

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“You better be careful what you say to me,” is what came to my mind when I heard ESPN’s First Take pundit, Stephen A. Smith was suspended for a week after his remarks about domestic violence involving the Ray Rice situation. It almost seems like Stephen A caught more backlash from social media then the actual perpetrator himself, Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice. As Rice was greeted with support from Raven’s coach John Harbaugh and fans at training camp; Mr. Smith’s name and career continues to be dragged throughout the press as if he was in the elevator that night in Atlantic City. Stephen A. has been no stranger to controversy in his days at ESPN. Just a month ago, Smith was lambasted by the African-American community for his siding with Dallas Maverick’s owner, Mark Cuban, and his comments regarding the issue of race. Smith was also accused in the blogs and social media, for dropping the nefarious five letter word on air that is often found in the lyrics of hip-hop artists (a claim Smith has repeatedly denied) back in 2012. This time however, Smith has seemly backed himself into a corner by the mere mention of one word: “provoke.” As Stephen A. continued to expound on his point about domestic violence, a colleague of his, Michelle Beadle, expressed her disgust on Twitter:
“I’m thinking about wearing a miniskirt this weekend…I’d hate to think what I’d be asking for by doing so @stephenasmith. #dontprovoke”
-Michelle Beadle (@MichelleDBeadle) July 25, 2014
Beadle, who is a co-host on ESPN2’s show SportsNation, revealed that she was once a victim of domestic abuse also added in her response: “Violence isn’t the victim’s issue. It’s the abuser’s. To insinuate otherwise is irresponsible and disgusting. Walk away.” On Monday’s First Take show, Stephen A. issued an apology to Beadle and others who felt like his words were ‘inappropriate’ and that he could have articulated himself better. If having to retract his original statement wasn’t bad enough, ESPN decided to take it a step further by suspending Mr. Smith for a week for comments that “didn’t reflect the views of the company.”
Really? Or in my Skip Bayless voice, “Are you kidding me?”
Before I let it be known why I find ESPN’s handling of this whole situation “hypocritical,” allow me preface my comments (as Stephen A would say) by saying I’ve been an avid supporter of the show-even back to its days when it was called Cold Pizza. The comments that were made by Stephen A. about domestic violence, has definitely been broached before on First Take. One could only remember the train wreck of what was called a “marriage” between former NFL star Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, and Basketball Wives reality star, Evelyn Lozada. Johnson, (who would be later charged with domestic abuse) was the topic of discussion circling around his then current team, the Miami Dolphins, who would later go on to sever its ties with Johnson following his domestic incident with Lozada. As with all things First Take, Stephen A., Skip Bayless, and then moderator, Jemele Hill, decided to discuss the turmoil that surrounded Chad Johnson. Here is an excerpt from what Stephen A said during the show:
“I have been on the record on national television and radio; you don’t have no business putting your hands on a woman. You put your hands on a woman you deserve the price that comes along with that. I have never put my hands on a woman; you shouldn’t have to put your hands on a woman, walk away. I’ve said that. But, there are plenty of instances where provocation comes into consideration, instigation comes into consideration …”
To see more, go to this link here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8QctGdDYMI
Notice how the word “provocation” is uttered by Smith just like it was voiced by him on last Friday’s show. There was no recant. There was no contrived apology given. As a matter of fact, Smith wasn’t even reprimanded by the fine executives at ESPN. Now some of y’all will give the excuse, “That was different and Evelyn has a history of being confrontational and aggressive.” Be that as it may, it only highlights what Stephen A. was trying to vocalize when he said the word provoke. In no way was he “insinuating” that it was okay for a man to put his hands on a woman. On the contrary, just as he believes it’s not okay for a man to hit a woman; he is also tried of the men being vilified in such cases and we don’t ever scrutinize the woman’s role in a domestic dispute. Such is true in the case with Ray Rice, who’s now wife, Janay Rice, admitted she played a role (by hitting him) in her ultimately being assaulted. Of course no one knows the full details of the entire incident, however, I believe Stephen A’s point was that in some (definitely not all) instances it’s not always the man being the aggressor or antagonist. Maybe Stephen A. knows what psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Bates has already concluded when it comes to intimate relationships: women tend to be more aggressive and controlling than their male counterparts (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/10927507/Women-are-more-controlling-and-aggressive-than-men-in-relationships.html).
Now this leads me to one Michelle Beadle. I completely understand her overall point about domestic violence and how wrong it is for men to abuse women. I get that. However, I remember ANOTHER fellow ESPN colleague who at one time decided to voice his displeasure on Twitter about a certain segment he viewed on First Take. That person is one Bill Simmons. While conducting an interview with Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, Simmons decided to loathe his feelings about the interview on Twitter:
“It’s amazing to me that people get so worked up about First Take. Who cares? Just don’t watch it. There are like 800 TV channels.”
-Bill Simmons (@BillSimmons) March 8, 2013
This and several other comments were made by Simmons on Twitter following the heated debate between Skip Bayless and Richard Sherman; which at one point Sherman replied “I’m better in life than you.” Simmons would go on to be suspended by ESPN (suspended from Twitter that is) for violation to their social media guidelines policy; a policy, that has somehow eluded Michelle Beadle’s disciplinary profile. I’m not C&C Music Factory, but this definitely rates as one of those things that make you go “Hmm.”
As this week comes to an end, there are new reports circulating that Stephen A. is STILL apologizing saying it’s the “most egregious error of his career.” All of this after doing what he is paid to do; give a daggone opinion!! I find it also telling that many people in the black community (yes, even black women) actually agree with Stephen A. when comes to men and WOMEN putting their hands on each other. Even daytime talk show host Whoopi Goldberg of The View, has sided with Stephen A. in reference to what he was trying to convey:
“Let me just point out the comment that he (Stephen A.) made is based on what the young lady said SHE did. Let me just make that clear to y’all (audience). She said ‘I hit him,’ and I believe that’s what Stephen A. was pointing to…”
To see more, go to this link: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MR0C-AlZl4)
Let’s not get it twisted people; domestic violence is wrong on all fronts. I just find it deplorable that we live in a society of double standards. Yes that same double standard that allows women to procreate with men and receives assistance from the system, (because she’s not financially able to take care of the child) that turns around and puts a man in the system if he can’t provide. I’m not making light of, or ignoring any woman who has truly been a victim of domestic violence; nor the ones who are involved in an abusive relationship now. What I am saying is if there is going to be an open discussion about domestic violence; let’s look at it from both perspectives, instead of it being one-sided ending with “that’s all folks.” No, that is not all, and until we as a society learn to understand each other better both humanistically and culturally, we’re going to continue to have biased, disingenuous conversations. An honest discussion is what Stephen A. was trying to have, but was punished; for what Michelle Beadle was allowed to do and was commended, despite breaching company policy. It also goes to show you that America STILL isn’t ready for honest discourse when the speaker just happens to be a black man. That is, unless their (A) bought off and controlled to fit a politicized agenda or (B) he is vouched for or validated by: the African-American woman. See, America only values the thoughts and opinions of the African-American community from the perspective of the African-American woman. So while I do value Ms. Goldberg’s input and support; Stephen A’s original statement or the word “provoke,” should not have hurt more than Ray Rice’s actual abuse to his wife. So in the words of another (now former) ESPN colleague, Rob Parker: “NO WAY, NO HOW!”

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