The Global War Against Women…in football

Football-loving women like me have to live with a lot of conflict. Off the field.

The Times apparently considered the Ray Rice minimal suspension story important enough to publish two articles on it. One was the news story. The other was a blistering Michael Powell essay, “Suspended for Abuse, Then Patted On The Back,” beginning:

 The Baltimore Ravens really are blessed.

Let’s say Ray Rice, the team’s Pro Bowl running back, had tested positive for steroids. Under league rules, he would have faced a minimum four-game suspension. A punishment that severe might have gotten in the way of this fine team of men and their playoff drive.

Instead Rice drove his hand into his then-fiancée’s head, knocking her cold last February in an elevator at an Atlantic City casino. In the National Football League, domestic battery apparently counts as half-a-roid, good for a two-game suspension.

After the N.F.L. handed down its suspension and a fine exceeding $500,000, and after the prosecutors washed their hands of the case (Rice will not be charged with a crime or jailed or fined by the courts, and he will have the record of his arrest expunged), Rice got to hear his putative bosses talk about what a fine, good, upstanding man he is.

Rice married his fiancée, Janay, one day after an Atlantic County grand jury indicted him for assaulting her and causing serious bodily harm.

I agree with Powell. Rice’s NFL “punishment” for knocking a woman senseless and dragging her out of an elevator is insulting − and especially to women. But Powell may be too much of a gentleman to point up one salient fact here.

But, as Eowyn sort of says in Lord of the Rings, “I am no gentleman.” No, I am a woman, and want to emphasize one bleak fact in this story. Rice’s fiancée married him.

The beaten woman married the man who beat her. No. No, no, no, no…

UPDATE 7/26/14 at 7:27 pm. Just saw this piece in the Daily News — Stephen A. Smith controversial domestic violence comments on ESPN’s First Take draws immediate backlash from Michelle Beadle – NY Daily News. It certainly reinforces what I said above. Love this:

The backlash was swift and severe, with Smith’s ESPN colleague Michelle Beadle sarcastically commenting on Twitter that she was “now aware that I can provoke my own beating.”

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