That’s the list.
This morning, TMZ released interior elevator footage of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice beating his then-fiancee (now wife) in an elevator. Previously, the only footage that had been available to the public was exterior shots of Rice in the lobby dragging the woman out of the elevator. We hadn’t seen the punches until today. The NFL claims they hadn’t either (but if you believe that, I’d really like to sell you this nice bridge.) Rice’s punishment? A ban for two games.
Up until this point, I thought I could manage the four teams on my will-never-support list: the Ravens, the Steelers (Ben Roethlisberger was never tried in a court of law, but I honestly don’t care), the Washington Football Team (racists), and the Jets (because duh, Patriots rivalry.) At what point, however, does that list become so unmanageable that you just can’t stomach the entire league?
Jezebel writer Erin Gloria Ryan wrote this morning that “if you care about women and still support the NFL, you are a hypocrite.” She’s right. The NFL can handle all of our outcry because the owners laugh all the way to the bank. “Why in the hell would the NFL change a thing about the way it disciplines its players if no matter what the League does, its harshest critics will continue to give the sport their eyeballs, money, and attention? If the Ray Rice incident didn’t dent the NFL’s ratings, sales, or audience, if seriously fucked up behavior by League leadership doesn’t have any consequences to their bottom line, then what was the Ray Rice outcry to NFL leadership but temporarily annoying publicity?”
I was jazzed when Roger Goodell released a new NFL Domestic Violence policy two weeks ago. The policy stated that a 1st offense would garner a 6-game ban, and a second offense would mean a lifetime ban. The policy applies to all NFL personnel including coaches, owners, and team employees, not just players. This seemed to be a good step, and a public acknowledgment that Goodell had gotten it wrong when it came to Rice. But this new video is so appallingly violent that I am completely sickened. If the NFL saw the video before issuing the 2-game suspension, then I cannot imagine how a rational human being would have come to that conclusion. And if the NFL didn’t, then they can and should consider revising their suspension of Rice.
Yesterday, while watching the OAK-NYJ game, I took a picture of my feet next to my boyfriend’s feet, up on my coffee table, with the NFL on CBS logo in the background. I was looking forward to posting it on Instagram later this week, with some cute caption about how I hadn’t actually lost my boyfriend to football season, but had gained a companion for it. I won’t be posting that picture, nor do I intend to post anything positive on social media or this blog about the NFL this season. I just can’t. I’m sure I’ll watch some games. I like watching the Patriots, I like watching football with my boyfriend, with my brothers, with Lydia and our friends, and I really like the Superbowl. But I can no longer publicly support the NFL. To do so means discounting their complete ignorance of issues relating to violence, violence specifically against women and racism, and I simply cannot condone it any more.