This Woman’s Worth … The Ray Rice Suspension and What the NFL Really Thinks of Women

25 Jul
Janay and Ray Rice's press conference to explain spousal abuse incident in New Jersey.

Janay and Ray Rice’s press conference to explain spousal abuse incident in Atlantic City last February.

By Denise Clay

of the Mad (Political) Scientist

Over the last few years, the National Football League has been trying to attract women by having breast cancer awareness games, and fun events, like my friend Tashyra Ayers’ “Female Football Frenzy” benefit for the American Heart Association.

But it’s going to take a lot more than a bunch of guys wearing pink gloves and shoestrings in October and an appearance from a hunky wide receiver at a benefit to get the taste of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s latest move out of women’s mouths.

On Thursday, Goodell announced that Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice would be serving a two-game suspension for abusing his fiancee’, now wife, Janay in an Atlantic City hotel in February. He’ll also be paying a $58,000 fine and getting some counseling. He’ll also lose more than $500,000 in game checks.

(Or as I like to call it, his Petty Cash…)

“This league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public, and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game,” Goodell said in a letter he sent to Rice telling him of his suspension. “This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.”

This is a strongly worded letter…for a two-game suspension..

Okay…

But in some light of some other punishments meted out by the league on a few other, not as blatant offenses, I’m a little confused.

So let me get this straight.

In the NFL, killing dogs as part of a dogfighting ring, the offense committed by New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick, gets you first suspended indefinitely, suspended for four games once you’re reinstated, and earns you the permanent enmity of a whole lot of misguided pet lovers.

Shooting yourself in the leg at a nightclub, the offense that put former New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress on the hot seat, gets you suspended for four games.

Taking a fertility drug in hopes of helping your wife get pregnant, the faux pas that has Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis riding the pine, gets you suspended for four games.

But decking your fiancee’ in a casino hotel, dragging her into an elevator and making her sit through a press conference that probably made Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa say “Damn! That sucks!” costs you two games and about $500,000.

No wonder Janay Rice looks like she hasn’t got a damn left to give. If I don’t stop scratching my head so hard, I’m gonna need stitches.

Now from everything I’ve read about Ray Rice, the whole “beating the snot out of my significant other” thing is out of character.

But my guess is that it’s not as much “out of character” as it was “finally got caught”.

According to the Institute on Domestic Violence in the African American Community, one-third of all women who have experienced a severe instance of domestic violence will experience another similar event in the same year. African Americans also make up one-third of the intimate partner homicides in the country.

I would be willing to bet my last dollar that Goodell took none of what I just mentioned into consideration when he made his decision.

Now let’s be honest here. The NFL has got a whole lot of issues. In addition to the whole “One of our teams is named for a racial slur” thing, the NFL has a culture of sexism bordering on misogyny.

There, I said it. And I meant it too.

From the cheerleaders for my beloved Oakland Raiders being forced to sue for their pay to the rather ridiculous hygiene rules placed on the Buffalo Bills’ pom-pom wielders, what women have to put up with to be involved with football makes my feminist skin crawl.

And don’t even get me started on the beer-and-testosterone-soaked shenanigans in the stands. Or the way that players use women like napkins. Or the fact that the marriage vows for most of the players should have written on an Etch-A-Sketch.

But if the league is serious about getting women (and their money) into the stands to keep the billions flowing in, it can’t afford to add “tolerance for domestic violence” to that mix.

Because like a woman who’s had enough, we’ll get up and walk away.

Denise Clay is a columnist with the Philadelphia Public Record and writes for her own blog, The Mad (Political) Scientist.  You can check out her columns at denisethewriter1.wordpress.com.

 

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2 Responses to “This Woman’s Worth … The Ray Rice Suspension and What the NFL Really Thinks of Women”

  1. DN July 26, 2014 at 2:47 am #

    So so well said and on point. Thank you.

  2. Kevin July 26, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    Here’s what I am missing in this whole Ray Rice-gate with the NFL and the feminist movement. I have not seen footage, nor have any of you, of Ray Rice knocking his girlfriend out. So why is it that there are claims of this happening which is unsupported by any video evidence. If your argument will be there were witnesses then my question is 1. What makes them credible 2. If there were witnesses then why wasn’t this prosecuted to the fullest and 3. Don’t use the argument that she didn’t want to go through with it because in domestice violence cases the Commonwealth becomes the plantiff and the victim becomes the witness. They do this because they have found that some women are too afraid to move forward with prosecution. Now this being the case obviously there wasn’t enough evidence to support the claims asserted.

    Where this article really takes a turn off the cliff is trying to compared the Vick and Burress incidents, verified and prosecuted, to this one. Those guys were suspended and penalized by the NFL for verified crimes. This one is only speculation. If your claims are that a man should be thrown in jail and livelihood stripped based on an accusation then I am so happy that you do not make our laws.

    This is not an attempt to justify domestic violence but to say at least so me the violence. I can rest assure you that if my girlfriend got so drunk that she non ambulatory her ass will lay where she falls and there will be no chances of her becoming my wife. Have some decorum. But I can’t confirm that she was drunk. So as this is a most unfortunate situation I feel folks need to stop make a story where there is none. The idea of him punching her out is mere speculation or conjecture at this point but some want this dude hung that. That shit scares me.

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