It’s been 20 years since congress passed the Violence Against Women Act and the National Football League is still lagging behind in taking action to ensure that those players who batter their girl friends and wives are actually disciplined in a manner that befits their actions. And that only after a video surfaced that they likely knew about several months ago. But they are America’s darlings we obsess and overdose on NFL football every year and if the player is a big enough star the NFL acts quickly to slap them on the wrist and get on with giving their legions of fans something to obsess about.
But it’s always been this way with celebrities they get a pass based upon who they are and how popular they are unless of course the crime that they perpetuate is heinous enough and then we obsess upon how terrible it is that they who had so much had to be brought down, having little or no concern for their victim. After all is said and done we feel sorrow for the star and often try to salve our sorrow with blaming their victim for having the audacity to bring them down.
But domestic violence in America is a crime that has for too far long been blamed upon the preyed upon rather than those who perpetuate it, especially if it is someone who we know or if it is, heaven forbid, a family member that we have known all our lives. We always seem to seek ways of forgiving those who commit the crime and often find it oh so easy to find fault with those who suffer the consequences of the crime. Doesn’t make any sense at all, but there it is.
Domestic violence is something that we once pretty much swept under the rug and the lingering effects of doing that are still driving us somewhat today. And when it comes to the rich and famous especially our sports stars we just don’t want to acknowledge that it is of almost epidemic proportions in our nation. Sports stars have almost always been given a pass based on how high their star is shining. We need them to be role models and when they aren’t living up to that we find ways to make excuses because, holy cow, we want our guys to win the Super Bowl and if we acknowledge that Joe Super Guy is flawed and is a domestic abuser then we may not be able to hold that Super Bowl Party at our house this year. Slap’em on the wrist and let’s get on with winning the big one. After all the object of his disaffection probably was mostly at fault and made him do it.
Domestic violence is not something people try to bring upon themselves. They don’t antagonize just so they can get the hell beat out of them. Anyone who believes has never seen domestic violence up close and personal. There are lots of reasons that people resort to domestic violence but it isn’t because someone deliberately brought it upon themselves. It’s brought about by uncontrollable anger and uncontrollable rage by the perpetrator not something the victim did to the perp. Often it is initiated by just a word. Sometimes just because the person who initiates it is mad at the world or even angry at themselves.
Finding the victim at fault is ridiculous and is simply a cop-out so as not to destroy the image people have for the wonderful role model they all know and love. It is much easier to find fault with the victim than it is to shatter our image of Mr. Nice Guy whom we love and respect. We don’t want to see our heroes destroyed so we blame the victims for destroying them.
No one in our society is totally blameless because we love having our Idols and we all tend to be guilty of putting our game day heroes on pedestals and wishing them to be the Apollo’s we desire them to be for winning all those big games for the home team. Turning a blind eye to the clay feet of our heroes has always been a national pastime, after all they bled for us and we have to have our heroes. Flaws are not something we want to acknowledge that our heroes are endowed with. But even Superman had his Kryptonite.
The media dotes on sports heroes and builds them into super-humans and we as fans let them because we need them to be. We need to have someone to look up to so don’t destroy our images just sweep it under the rug and get on with the game. And in the case of Ray Rice good old Faux News did their part. One pundit on Faux allowed that from now on, make sure there aren’t any cameras in the elevator or take the stairs next time. The other Faux News clown allowed that one would need to remember to put a tape over the camera before engaging in domestic violence. What a couple of doofuses!
Sports figures are human often much more so and often much more flawed than us average Jacks and Jills. They have celebrity thrust upon them suddenly and they usually don’t have anybody who gives enough about them beyond the money that will seek to guide them and counsel them and keep them on the straight and narrow. In fact they are often encouraged to foster a ‘bad boy’ image to increase their ability to generate more cash.
We have to quit expecting these people to be role models for our children and see them for who they really are. They aren’t giants among men and just because they can score a touchdown, throw a pass or block a field goal don’t make them heroes or super humans. They may have extraordinary abilities on the football field but when they take off that uniform they still have flaws just like everyone one else and they just because of what they can do with a football don’t deserve any more consideration than anyone else when they commit a crime of violence against another human being. Violence against women is a crime and there is no justification for it no matter who you are!