The NFL and Violence Against Women

When Ray Rice knocked out his girlfriend in an elevator, it made a buzz in the media for short time. The NFL gave him a 2-day suspension. Then a video of the incident was released to the public. All of a sudden, there was widespread outrage, and Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely and cut from the Baltimore Ravens.

Which begs the question: where was this outrage when Rice was arrested? He admitted his guilt publicly. Everyone knew what happened. Where was the outrage? The fact is that for the most part, there wasn’t much public outcry against Rice before the video. He didn’t become a pariah until the video was released.

This double standard is disturbing. Are people only offended when they’re forced witness violence against women for themselves? When it’s hidden out of sight in back rooms, when we can’t talk about it, are people still offended?

The NFL (and more specifically, the Dallas Cowboys) is currently in the midst of a similar situation with Cowboys Defensive End Greg Hardy. Hardy was found guilty of assault on his girlfriend and making death threats. The NFL suspended him for 10 games. He appealed and the suspension was lowered to four games. (Because death threats and domestic assault aren’t near as bad as smoking a joint or breaking probation by having a drink)

But Deadspin just released photos of his girlfriend’s injuries from the fight. This comes after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and head coach Jason Garret publically supported Hardy.

Now we have to wait and see. Will the NFL give him an indefinite suspension as they did for Ray Rice? Will the media once again become outraged over Greg Hardy’s behavior? I’m betting they do. And they would be a bunch of hypocrites for it. Like Rice, Hardy was found guilty in a court of law. We all knew what happened. But no one cared enough to make a big deal out of it. Now that the pictures have been released, will Hardy get an indefinite suspension?

If so, it sends the wrong message to fans and players. The message is that as long as players can hide their bad behavior from the public, the NFL (and media) really won’t give two shits. After all, violence against women is ‘normal.’

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