Are you shaking your head at the NFL right now? Good.
We all should be.
And we should be shaking our heads at ourselves too. How have we become a society that pays our professional athletes millions of dollars but fails to hold them accountable for their behaviors?
I’m not singling out the NFL; we can add the MLB, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, and all the rest to the list.
We have professional athletes, who are role models to literally millions, who feel they are above the law and are treated as such. It happens at every level – the high school quarterback who cheats on a test and the school looks the other way, the college basketball star that gets in a fight and no charges are pressed.
The cover-ups happen all the time and often we are unaware.
You can point the finger anywhere you like – the team owners, the trainers, the players, the Commissioner – but let’s not deny the cold hard facts; we have lowered our standards and we have failed to hold people accountable for their actions.
We have to talk about Ray Rice for a minute.
I want to tell you that while I’m not a big football fan, my family (husband and kids) are huge Ravens fans. We were all extremely disappointed by Ray Rice’s actions with his fiancée and further disappointed by the consequences given. Ray Rice was abusive to his fiancée – period.
It doesn’t matter what they were arguing about. It doesn’t matter if she hit him first. And it shouldn’t matter that there is a video of the whole event.
Domestic abuse is a serious matter. Just this week the NFL has four players either convicted of or charged with abuse.
This is a critical time for action and all eyes are watching. What message will the NFL send to their players, their fans, domestic abusers and their victims?
Last week CBS made the decision to cancel part of their Thursday night pre-game show, including playing a song featuring singer Rihanna who was a victim of domestic abuse in 2009. They wanted to set the proper tone before the Ravens’ opening game and felt including a domestic abuse victim was not the tone they were looking for.
I might be in the minority here, but I feel this is a step in the wrong direction. Rihanna was not the abuser she was the victim and should not be criticized or punished for that.
We can do better. We have to do better. We cannot lower our expectations and expect things to improve.
There is so much good out there in the sports world. We simply cannot accept anything less than role model worthy behavior – period. The world is watching. Our children are watching.
I hope the sports world will take a stand. Not against one or two players but against the lowered standards of behavior that have become acceptable across the board.
This is the time.
Contact Kim Hudson at firstname.lastname@example.org.