Op-Ed: The NFL’s Response to Violence Against Women: Why One Fan Won’t Watch This Year

August 13, 2014
By

By Eric C. Souza

NFLThe message that the National Football League has chosen to send me as a fan, and my children by extension, is not one I am willing to welcome into my home.

Its punishment of Ray Rice’s assault on his fiancée (now wife) and its poor history of handling violence against women amount to a slap on the wrist. The NFL’s stance is clear. It is more concerned about making money than it is about holding men accountable for violent and abhorrent behavior toward women.

The NFL had video proof that one of its players attacked a woman, and it made its opinion of the attack very clear. An attack on a woman is worth a two-game suspension.

NFL senior vice president of labor policy Adolpho Birch gave a terrible interview on the sports radio show Mike & Mike. According to Birch, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell “ultimately makes the decision that he thinks is appropriate based on both the conduct and the importance of making the right message for the league and others going forward.”

Roger Goodell

Goodell recently stated that the league needs to remain consistent with previous discipline. But previous discipline for domestic violence has been ludicrously light. A one-game suspension for Victor Riley in 2002 for repeatedly ramming his car into a vehicle holding his wife and daughter. Another one-game suspension in 2003 for Saints linebacker Derrick Rogers, after he attacked his wife and a man in a restaurant. So the league says that, because it’s never appropriately responded, it is OK to continue a bad policy of turning a blind eye toward violence and abuse. The league believes a two-game suspension sends the “message about what the league stands for.”

Yes, it does, NFL…message received. And I know it’s not going to make a drop in your revenue bucket, but I can’t support an organization that tells my daughter that she’s worth a two-game suspension, and teaches my sons that men simply can’t help but be violent.

So I am suspending the NFL—and not just for two games. I don’t want my money, attention, or children’s focus to be on an organization that refuses to take responsibility.

This isn’t just a women’s issue. This isn’t just a legal issue. This isn’t just a domestic abuse issue. This is an issue of basic human dignity and respect. I, as a man, am perfectly capable of not beating up my wife and children. Most men are. “Don’t beat up your girlfriend, or I’ll suspend you for two games” is simply not something we should accept from an organization that has such a spotlight and influence over our youth.


Eric C. Souza is a freelance writer and internet marketer based in Seattle. He can be reached by email at ericcharles.souza@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @ecsouza. His wife, Emi, is a neonatologist. They have three kids, ages seven, eight, and eleven.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

4 Responses to Op-Ed: The NFL’s Response to Violence Against Women: Why One Fan Won’t Watch This Year

  1. Anna on August 13, 2014 at 9:27 am

    thank you Eric! I am also taking a stand against the NFL this year. thanks for proving that I am not alone in my disgust for the NFL’s method of dealing with violence against women.

    • Eric Souza on August 13, 2014 at 10:53 am

      Thank you Anna – I’m glad you’re also taking a stand!

  2. Gayle on August 13, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Excellent piece that really points out the lack of ethics involved here. Thank you!

  3. Ariel on August 14, 2014 at 8:20 am

    Fabulous! Kudos, Eric, and yes, the Money-over-Morality message has always been clear. We’re the #1 Capitalist society, and money is all that major-league sports are about. Look at Denver, Colorado–they have alerts following Broncos games. I though they’d implemented a protective law several years ago, but was unable to find it in an online search. Here is a journal a 2010 Harvard JD candidate published. I don’t know if a second issue ensued, but her first publication under this title states it plainly. The money from the games is more important than the ethics of the players on the field:

    http://harvardjsel.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/JSEL-Withers.pdf

Follow The Feminist Wire

Arts & Culture

  • Remembering and Honoring Toni Cade Bambara Sanchez

    Sonia Sanchez: What are we pretending not to know today? The premise as you said, my sister, being that colored people on planet earth really know everything there is to know. And if one is not coming to grips with the knowledge, it must mean that one is either scared or pretending to be stupid.

  • Hunger Kwame Laughing Foto

    They say you had the eye; they say you saw
    into people. They say you came before as shaman
    or bruja and returned as priestess; they say you were
    stonebreaker. But for me, you were a big sister
    feeling for a lonely brother with no language
    to lament, and you gave me more days, and
    more days. Yes, they could have called you
    Grace, Bambara; they could have called you that.

  • Stroller (A Screenplay) Black families and community

    Roxana Walker-Canton: Natalie sits in her own seat in front of her mother and looks out the window. Mostly WHITE PEOPLE get on and off the bus now. The bus rides through a neighborhood of single family homes. A BLACK WOMAN with TWO WHITE CHILDREN get on the bus. Natalie stares at the children.

Princeton University Post Doc: Apply Now!