"You know I only say it 'cause I'm truly genuine. Don't be a hard rock when you're really a gem. Babygirl, respect is just a minimum. "
Lyric from: Doo Wop (That Thing) from the album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill
Written By: Lauryn Hill
Performed By: Lauryn Hill
A few months ago TMZ treated us to a video of someone that appeared to be Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice dragging his then fiancé out of an elevator after an altercation between the two resulted in him knocking her unconscious.
After a review of all of the evidence, the verdict is in for Rice. The NFL handed him a 2-game suspension to start the season. Case closed.
Fans are upset, appropriately so, by what appears to be a lack of reasonableness in the way that the NFL punishes deplorable conduct by it players. Many have pointed out on social media that guys have gotten suspended longer for marijuana offenses. But, as in the case of Rice, render your wife lifeless in a fit of rage and you might slide by with a figurative slap on the wrist.
Yep, that’s right, she’s his wife now.
Apparently in the time since this incident played out for all the world to see, Rice has become more lovable.
We talk all the time about how sports folks-coaches, league officials and media alike-are selectively willing to look the other way in the face of some awful behavior by their most likable, charismatic and profitable employees.
It’s unacceptable for sure. In a domestic violence case like this one, maybe it’s just one more example in a line of examples that demonstrates how little this society values its women. Or maybe, they’re just taking their “look the other way” cues from the women in these relationships.
It’s hard to know exactly what would make a woman stay with a man that beats her. I have been candid in this blog about having been in an abusive relationship before. I stayed in it just long enough to realize that it really wasn’t my fault that my boyfriend’s anger turned violent from time to time and, then I was out of it. It wasn’t easy but, the break was made easier by the fact that I had loving parents at home, supportive friends who told me that I deserved better and a keen awareness of the fact that my peace and sanity were worth way more than any of the “stuff” that being with him afforded me.
Subtract any of those factors from the equation, however, and for some women, it will be a story with an altogether different ending.
And in these times where it seems that everyone everywhere is all about “stuff”-how hard we’re grinding to get it, how much we spent on it, how ours is better than yours and how much happier (allegedly) you’ll be the more of it you have-stuff carries more weight and is way more difficult to walk away from than it should be.
In this recent Deadspin piece titled The Trouble with Floyd Mayweather which chides boxing media and officials for the same type of soft handling of Floyd and his reprehensible treatment of women as the NFL is being criticized for today, the hypnotic effect and appeal of Floyd’s wealth is hard not to miss as a major point of emphasis and is quite obviously a determining factor in how much he is able to get away with, not only from the boxing community and the court system but from the women in his life as well.
And that’s as sad as it is regrettable.
Then again, maybe the NFL is taking its cues from the rest of us. Those of us that hypocritically laugh and meme and retweet the misogynistic humor that would be decidedly less funny if the words were addressed to us, to our faces. And those of us that bounce and nod our heads to songs with lyrics that claim “it ain’t nothin’ to cut that b*tch off”.
It’s all fun and games ‘til the "b*tch" in question is you or your mother, sister or dear friend.
If you don’t think a guy that refers to women as b*tches and h*s all of time is that much closer to hitting one, you’re wrong. And if a woman doesn’t think that all of the retweeting and laughing and head bobbing is a subtle endorsement of her diminishing value, she is wrong as well.
This domestic violence thing is an “us” issue. Maybe when we start doing our part, the NFL will too.