Yesterday, the NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for the first two games of this season following his offseason arrest for alleged domestic violence against his wife.

Much of the reaction on social media & on ESPN to this announcement has been one of outrage.  Namely, that Commissioner Goodell and the NFL should have levied a bigger suspension upon Rice to show support of women’s rights.

For me, I am probably in the minority thinking that Goodell’s decision was appropriate.

Essentially, I think it would be dangerous for the NFL to have taken a stand for women through the punishment of a player.

First, let me preface this discussion by saying that I am a woman who strongly supports women’s rights.  And, I do not in any way condone Ray Rice’s actions.

But, I do take umbrage with broadcasters for continuously pointing out that we women need for big businesses to take a stand for us.

We don’t.

For example, during a segment Thursday night, ESPN’s Keith Olbermann disparaged the NFL for its “lack of concern for Ray Rice’s wife” and women sports fans overall.  He said that by giving other players higher sentences for lesser violations, the NFL was sending a message to women that it didn’t care about them and that Rice’s light punishment was yet another way that the sport treated women as “just a little less human than the men”.

While I think Olbermann’s diatribe was admirable, it defeats the purpose of the intention in my eyes.  By pointing out that big brother needs to stick up for us as a group, it highlights that we women are somehow considered lesser to begin with.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Females in this society already deal with enough separatism; we don’t need to now to be even further singled out by being viewed as a woman sports fan, let alone just a sports fan.

To add insult to injury, today Mark Schlereth, former NFL player and now ESPN Analyst, said on the Mike & Mike show that he thought the NFL missed its opportunity to reach out to women “as a business”.  He suggested that the NFL could have shown support for women (about 50% of its fan base) by handing out a bigger suspension to Rice.  And, that women overall would be disappointed by the NFL’s lack of punishment of Rice, and thereby, it may hurt their bottom-line.

I disagree.  I am a woman and I love watching the NFL.  If it didn’t slap an athlete on the wrist harder than it should have, it does not taint the sport’s image in my eyes, even if the athlete’s victim was a woman.  I don’t want the NFL to view me as a different kind of sports fan, just an equal.

Instead, I think we should let the Justice System and the courts deal with Ray Rice where he committed his crime: off the field.  I don’t think it’s healthy for sports to blur the line between athletes off field antics and their on-field play. If a particular athlete has violated a sport’s personal conduct policy, he/she should be reprimanded.  But, they shouldn’t be used as a pawn for a sport to make a point.

In fact, I think it’s plain dangerous for a big sport to take the life of a man (albeit one who committed a crime) and use it as an opportunity to take a moral stand.

What Ray Rice allegedly did to his wife was bad, but what gives any sport the right to use his life as a way to either reach out to a certain audience, or as a way to showcase its viewpoint as to what it righteous and what isn’t?

Yes, we’re talking about domestic violence here which is obviously wrong.  But, by asking Goodell to levy a higher punishment to Rice, that’s exactly what we would be doing.

Players who violate the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy should be appropriately dealt with as outlined in the Policy, not be used as a way for society to deal with important social problems.  It’s dangerous to the players and could isolate members of the fan base who like me, just wish to remain equal.


Source : Ray Rice Suspended 2 Games

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