After reading the USA Today article on NFL coaches and incidents of domestic violence, I was struck by one theme. The coaches with violent histories against women all “declined to comment” and “teams would not make them available for comment,” and “would not answer written questions” concerning the allegations.
You might recall NFL commissioner Roger Goodall proclaiming the league had a “commitment to being a leader on the issue of domestic violence,” following the harrowing video of player Ray Rice beating his fiancée and dragging her from an elevator. Yet Goodall also declined to be interviewed for the story disturbingly titled “Red flags in the NFL: Domestic violence allegations easy to find in coaches’ pasts, but teams didn’t act on them.”
Here’s the thing: The National Football League … doesn’t … care! Oh, they pretend to give a damn about women. Come on. All those guys wear pink in October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In fact, the league also decreed October should be a time when we think about domsetic violence. And they want you to remember how great they are because they hired a woman official a few years back and another woman – Rita Smith – who is called “an adviser to the league on domestic violence issues.” Surely that means they support women.
But people, read the writing on the scoreboard. The league is only interested in covering up allegations of domestic violence. In fact, there is only one reason they give a whit about women: money. Statistics show women drive 70 to 80 percent of consumer spending and they are the dominant buyers of apparel and gifts. Now check those prices at the Official NFL Shop and do the math. (And isn’t it cute that the league also sponsors the Official NFL Ladies Shop?)
So let’s stop pretending. The league is and always will be a boys’ club, committed to defending its employees and hiding all incriminating evidence.
Can we do anything about this attitude? Probably not. However, even though I love football and have been an avid fan for almost four decades, I will never buy league paraphernalia, nor purchase a ticket to a pro game, nor buy a streaming service for the sole purpose of watching an NFL contest.
Perhaps you’ll join me. The more of us that turn away from the league, the better chance we have of them listening. And guys, if you’re vacillating, think of the women in your lives: your mothers, wives, sisters and daughters.
Do it for them.
Blank Slate Press/Amphorae Publishing Group
Price: $16.95 Paperback, $9.99 eBook
As a Vietnam veteran and former Special Forces sniper descends into the throes of mental illness, he latches onto a lonely pregnant teenager and a group of Pentecostal zealots – the Children of Light – who have been waiting over thirty years in the Arizona desert for Armageddon. When the Amtrak Sunset Limited, a passenger train en route to Los Angeles, is derailed in their midst in a deadly act of sabotage, their lives are thrown into turmoil. As the search for the saboteurs heats up, the authorities uncover more questions than answers. And then the girl vanishes. As the sniper struggles to maintain his sanity, a child is about to be born in the wilderness.