Nel's New Day

September 13, 2014

NFL, U.S. Have Violence against Women Problem

Rush Limbaugh: forcing the NFL to punish players for domestic violence will “chickify” the game:

“We’re feminizing this game, and it’s a man’s game. If we keep feminizing this game, we’re going to ruin it.”

Limbaugh also said that NFL players are Democats—probably because they’re black—and no Republicans are accused of beating up on their wives.

Brian Kilmeade, co-host of Fox & Friends: beaten unconscious by then fiancé and now husband, Baltimore Raven Ray Rice, Janay Rice should “take the stairs.” Co-host Anna Kooiman giggled. Host Steve Doocy: “The message is, when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera.”

Fox network contributor Tamara Holder: “The anti-testicular police are coming out and just taking this guy’s b*lls and ripping them off and not paying attention to the fact that there is a family here.”

David Anthony Wiggins, a Republican candidate for Baltimore County sheriff: “Women want equality. [Janay Rice] got some of it.”

Bryan Fischer, American Family Association spokesman:  regarding his perception of Janay Rice’s lack of education, “when biblical standards of morality are ignored, people get hurt.”

People have expressed outrage at Janay Rice or dismissal of the abuse’s seriousness because married Ray Rice; others blamed her because she must have done something to provoke Rice.

Sixteen female senators expressed outrage in a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell demanding the dismissal of all players who commit domestic violence. The only women senators failing to sign the letter are Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Deb Fisher (R-NE). Rice had originally been suspended for only two games; his indefinite suspension came only after the graphic video footage was leaked to the public.

Before the video was leaked, Ray Rice avoided any jail time because Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain approved his entering New Jersey’s Pre-Trial Intervention program as a first-time offender. The same prosecutor is trying to put Shaneen Allen, a 27-year-old mother of two, into jail for three to ten years. Also a first-time offender, she didn’t know that her Pennsylvania concealed-carry permit didn’t allow her to carry a gun in New Jersey. Pulled over for a minor traffic offense, Allen informed the officer she had a gun, explaining that she had been robbed twice and was afraid for her children, and showed her permit. She was arrested and refused the same pre-trial program where Rice is before losing her job.

With evidence that they had seen the video last April, NFL has asked for an independent investigation into the situation. A law enforcement official, who insisted on anonymity, reported an NFL official left him a voice mail on April 9 thanking him for the video and adding, “You’re right. It’s terrible.” Leading the investigation is former FBI director Robert Mueller who works for a law firm that has represented the NFL; the investigation is being overseen by two NFL owners. Only the Rice controversy is the focus of the investigation.

Terry O’Neill, president of NOW, said, “The NFL does not just have a Ray Rice problem; they have a violence against women problem.”  Two other players still on the field are Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, convicted of DV, and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald, accused of domestic violence. A description of the alleged violence is here. According to Slate research, the 49ers have four players who have been either charged with or arrested for domestic violence, sexual assault, or assaults against women. The Arizona Cardinals have three, with one of them on the practice squad instead of the 53-man roster and another suspended for substance abuse. The Seahawks have two, as do the Chicago Bears. The Ravens had two until the video of Rice showed up. Nine other teams have at least one player. These don’t include players like Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs who was accused of domestic abuse but not charged. There was no video.

The NFL also has a violence against children problem. Texas has indicted Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson on a charge of injury to a child after he “whooped” his four-year-old son. Peterson, 29, lost a son a year ago from head injuries after the boyfriend of the boy’s mother assaulted the two-year-old. After the boy pushed a sibling off a video game motorbike. Peterson stripped a tree branch of leaves and left the child with cuts and bruises to his back, buttocks, ankles, legs and scrotum, along with defensive wounds to the child’s hands. At a previously-scheduled appointment, a doctor concluded the wounds are consistent with child abuse. The boy also said that his father often used “a lot of belts in daddy’s closet” and would stuff leaves in his mouth while striking him with his pants down. Although Peterson was deactivated from the game tomorrow, he has not yet been suspended from the NFL. That means he still gets paid.

Domestic violence discussion is a long-buried issue, but Nation reported on an investigation into South Carolina’s crisis. Three times as many women have been killed by current or former lovers there than the number of South Carolina soldiers who lost their lives in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The state is among the top ten states in the rate of women killed by men for over 15 years and topped the list three different times, including last year with a murder rate for women more than double the national rate.

Factors that leading to this large number of killings in South Carolina:

Legislators don’t pass laws to protect women. The series reported that “a man can earn five years in prison for abusing his dog but a maximum of just 30 days in jail for beating his wife or girlfriend on a first offense.”

Prosecutors face challenges in getting cases to stick. These range “from overcrowded court dockets and under-trained police to victims too scared to testify against the men who beat them.”

Trusted pastors advise that staying and working things out is God’s will. “In churches that did acknowledge abuse… pastors often compounded the problem by counseling abusers and victims together—and then sending them home with the sting of their shared grievances still fresh. Back behind closed doors, the abuser would take out his frustrations on his partner all over again.”

Todd-Kincannon-twitter-photoTodd Kincannon, former director of South Carolina’s GOP, demonstrates the state’s attitude toward domestic violence. After the release of the Rice video, he tweeted, “I hope the dumb bitch who initiated physical violence with her NFL player fiancé  learned a good lesson when he justifiably beat her.”

Domestic violence problems are not unique in South Carolina, and opposition to fighting domestic violence is not unique with the NFL in sports. More than three women per day lose their lives at the hands of their partners. Since February 15, 2014 when Ray Rice hit Janay in the elevator, over 600 women have died from domestic violence. This is a cultural problem in our society.

Twenty years ago today, President Clinton signed the Violence against Women Act.  It was the first federal legislation to specifically address domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes and to provide federal funding to improve local response to violence against women, including training and resources for law enforcement and judges. The law has been renewed three times since 1994, the most recently last year when Republicans bitterly fought its expansion to Native American, immigrant, and LGBT communities. A key part of the landmark law redefined wife beating as a crime rather than a joke. A man witnessing Rice’s brutality laughed and told his friends that Rice “should have taken her to their room first.” That’s today’s society.

Major brand sponsors are watching the NFL investigation into domestic violence. Nike and Electronic Arts have already dropped their connections to Ray Rice. Perhaps money can succeed when a sense of right and wrong doesn’t.

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