Domestic Violence on the Field

These posts are always hard to get going for me. There’s something about “write whatever you want” that seems so limiting. There’s only so much I can write about a certain team, or about a play that happened in a game last week. So I thought to write about something that may be on the darker side of sports, but is very relevant to our society today. An issue that never ceases to appall me, but just doesn’t seem to be going away either.

I recently read an article, “Why so many professional athletes accused of domestic are still allowed to take the field.” In my research I have found numerous cases of domestic violence found severe enough to be addressed by the media, which in no way means those were the only instances. I mean we’ve got Jovan Belcher and wife Kasandra Perkins, Chad Johnson and Evelyn Lozada, Ray Rice and Janay Rice,

OWINGS MILLS, MD - MAY 23: Running back Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens addresses a news conference with his wife Janay at the Ravens training center on May 23, 2014 in Owings Mills, Maryland. Rice spoke publicly for the first time since facing felony assault charges stemming from a February incident involving Janay at an Atlantic City casino. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Semyon Varlamov and girlfriend Evgenia Vavinyuk, Matt Barnes and his girlfriend, DeAndre Liggins and his girlfriend, and on and on and on dating all the way back to OJ Simpson and Mike Tyson. I think we’d be sitting here a while if I named them all.

But that’s the problem, there’s so many! I mean I barely even knew about half of these! How many of these cases are actually dealt with? In the aforementioned article, only 10 players arrested in the NFL for domestic violence since Jovan Belcher killed the mother of his child and then himself shortly after. There’s a lack of punishment or reprimand within these national sports organizations; there’s simply no consequences. Even though these sports organizations address the issues of violent misconduct and unlawful behavior, there’s nothing specific for domestic violence and abuse so it’s often overlooked. But why is that okay?

It gives the impression that it’s an issue that can be taken lightly, it sends society a message that it is okay. Discipline is often difficult to administer when there aren’t convictions to begin with. It can be due to a combination of things; the abused being manipulated, charges dropped, or money being paid to the right person. But this only makes the situation more corrupt. To sweep the issue under the rug to focus on the game is nothing more than cowardliness. If they were real men, they would actually deal with the issue.

My point is, what message is it sending? I understand the NFL, MLB, and NBA is about the sport, the athletes, the spirit of the game, and being the best you can be, and this aspect of organized sports is beautiful. It teaches us, and especially children, about hard work, dedication, and team work. But what do those same children think and take away when their favorite athlete, whom the admire, hits a woman and gets away with it? It’s sending the same message rappers send about f*cking bitches and then throwing them to the side; a message of ultimate disrespect and inequality. The players represent their team, whether or not they have the uniform on their back at the time. They not only represent their team, but they stand on that field for all of their fans. The fans that love them for the plays they make, the colors they wear, and the team they rep.

DV2

So let’s keep it that way, let’s keep the triumphs innocent and the spirit of the game about those who make the game and deserve every high-five, pat on the back and butt slap they get. And for those athletes that get ahead of themselves and feel superior to the rest of us, they need to be checked, need to be actually reprimanded, need to be taught a lesson that in turn teaches everyone else one too.

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