Demanding Action from the NFL

I’m not watching another NFL football game until they get their shit together and adopt a zero tolerance policy against violence, and a clear message is sent to its players that knocking your wife unconscious or beating your kid until he bleeds is unacceptable.

#GoodellMustGo: the #BoycottNFL protest continues after the Ray Rice domestic abuse debacle. http://t.co/unOZzRgP2f pic.twitter.com/709t68TS4w

— E! Online (@eonline) September 16, 2014

Players like Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson are in the spotlight—a life they chose—and with the spotlight comes a responsibility to hold a higher standard for yourself. As crazy as it sounds to me, people do look up to football players and want to be like them, kids especially. What are the players, teams, and management teaching them?

Like it or not, in the U.S. money is a sign of respect and there is no reason to be paying these abusers millions of dollars worth of respect while they beat on women and children. Kids are watching these players, on and off the field, and learning from them. They’re learning that they can get away with anything and still get rewarded in a big way. That there is a point where fame and money means you get to hit anyone you want, as hard as you want, without consequences. And let’s not forget about team managers and CEO’s too; they are the ones deciding the consequences, or in the case of Minnesota, the lack of consequences.

Really, Vikings? You cite “innocent until proven guilty” as the reason you re-instated AP? I call bullshit. You got it handed to you last Sunday against the Pats and you’re scared, because instead of building a TEAM you’ve chosen to focus on creating a Superstar on whom to be entirely dependent. With that re-instatement you’ve told your team you don’t believe in them, and you’ve sent a clear and decisive message to men, women and children that abuse is tolerated in your organization, even rewarded! If you really believed in the law, if you believed in your team, if you took abuse seriously, you would suspend AP until the results of his trial were announced. That could take years? Aw, too bad. Because here’s the thing: everyone is watching. Little eyes are watching. And learning. They are learning that they’ll still get to play if they hurt someone else. They are learning that it’s ok if mom and dad make them bleed. The world rewards mom and dad for it so it must be right.

This is bigger than a football game, it’s more important than selling AP bobble-heads. You want to support AP? Give him a chance to prove himself in a court of law? Great! But he doesn’t need to be bringing in millions of dollars a week or be allowed to play in the meantime. Cut his salary to what normal people get. Make him be a water-boy. He still gets to have a job and earn a living, but if a star football player suddenly was forced to serve former teammates Gatorade on the sidelines? Well, THAT would be a great clear and decisive message.

It’s time for the NFL to clean up its act.

Join me in boycotting the NFL (and not purchasing from establishments, during game time, which are showing NFL football games) until it proves—with bold actions—that they truly believe violence is never ok. But do more than that. How about this: What if we took the time we would normally devote to football during the week, and devote it instead to helping victims of domestic violence and child abuse? While we’re at it, let’s add human trafficking to that list (the Super Bowl generates millions of dollars worth of business for human traffickers). Go ahead and look up service organizations in your area that focus on helping victims of abuse and violence heal, and on educating people in order to stop the cycle. If you’re in Duluth, or Minnesota at large, here are some organizations that are worth your attention:

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