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NFL fumbles on Ray Rice’s punishment; Sends horrible message to about 50% of their fan base–women

NFL fumbles on Ray Rice’s punishment; Sends horrible message to about 50% of their fan base–women

So, finally, the NFL has spoken and Ray Rice will be suspended for two games and fined $58,000 for the domestic altercation he had with his now wife, Janay Palmer, who he hit so hard she was knocked unconscious. 

WHAT!!! HUH!!??

Yeah, so basically in the NFL if you smoke marijuana repeatedly you get at least a two-game suspension, or hitting an opposing player too hard you’re bound to get at least a one-game suspension. However, knocking a woman on her ass is only worthy of a two-game suspension!?! So, as it relates to domestic violence, the NFL isn’t really that concerned.

Perhaps the current PR campaign, Rice’s willingness to go to counseling and that ridiculous press conference he did with is wife was helpful in softening the blow. Whatever the case, he got off easy. 

I like what Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports said in his column:

Don’t tell me you care about women’s health come October. Don’t pinkwash the whole league and pay lip service to how much you care about women. Don’t trot out breast cancer survivors as symbols of the NFL’s close relationship with women and then give a man who threatened a woman’s health — ON TAPE — a two-game suspension.


….The NFL could have said to the women who silently suffer through domestic violence that the biggest, richest league in the country has their backs.

Instead, they’re telling players that smoking a joint — which is legal in two states — is much worse than knocking out a woman.

I would agree with Weber’s sentiments, except for one thing: a dog. Hitting a dog would have gotten him a harsher sentence than hitting a woman. SMH.  

Here’s what Jersey Girl Sports co-owner Marcelle English had to say:

I’m sure that many women saw the tape and has seen the behavior of Rice since the incident. I’m sure they also noticed how Palmer has stuck by Rice, and ultimately married the man who did this to her. While the NFL is not the be-all-end-all when it comes to promoting messages to stop violence against women, the league does have a responsibly to its female fans to not turn the other check when it comes to domestic violence.

I’m sure that the NFL knows the numbers when it comes to its female football fans, but in case they need a refresher…

  • Women are 48% of all NFL fans.
  • Women purchase 46% of all NFL merchandise.
  • Women playing fantasy football has increased over 300% since 2011/2012.
  • Finally according to Nielsen, 46% of the Super Bowl viewing audience is female, having them watch the game more than the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys combined.

What do those stats say?

It says that women are just as much, if not more involved and interested in football and the NFL as any fan. However with decisions like this to only suspend a player for two games and $58,000 fine, what message is that sending to its female fans.

In a letter to Rice, Goodell wrote, “Despite the court’s decision not to impose criminal punishment, the Commissioner determined, as he advised Rice, that the conduct was incompatible with NFL policies and warranted disciplinary action.

“As you acknowledged during our meeting, your conduct was unquestionably inconsistent with league polices and the standard of behavior required of everyone who is part of the NFL. The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game. This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence and other forms of violence against women.”

While many fans of Rice and the Ravens are just happy that their running back will only miss the first two games of the season, women and female fans should be outraged that he didn’t get more. Did you know that that repeat violators of the NFL drug policy get a 4-game suspension, you shoot yourself in the leg like Plaxico Burress you get 4-games, you fight dogs you are suspended indefinitely?  Really NFL…where are your morals?  Where is your balance?

The message sent by the NFL depends on how you see this issue. Is it a private matter between two people with Ray Rice shouldering the burden of responsibility or does the NFL, a multi-billion dollar organization and the most popular sport in the U.S. have a much bigger responsibility to send a message out to say they are against violence against women–who make up 50% of their fan base?

What do you think?

Your Jersey Girlfriend,

~Angela Davis

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