Arena: Scandal rocks NFL
The NFL has been scrutinized for yet another domestic abuse scandal that has been handled carelessly. NY Giants kicker Josh Brown has been placed on the commissioner's exempt list in the midst of an investigation regarding his long history of abuse. Roger Goodell has failed to address the blatant misconduct and like many cases, continues to downplay the severity of the situation. The treatment of the case has to correlate with the league's general attitude toward fandom and women. The NFL has always been associated with a male dominated audience and has addressed their fan base accordingly. However, a recent shift in fandom may shock the typical sports fan. Women actually represent about 45 percent of the NFL's fan base. But the league knows that, they are knowledgable enough to put on a progressive spectacle. Capitalizing on Breast cancer awareness month, they pridefully cover the field with pink decor and continue to advertise rhinestone inspired jerseys for their beloved female fans. But when it comes down to it, the league's underlying attitude toward women is extremely alarming.
In the midst of the Josh Brown investigation, some disturbing revelations have been uncovered. In a journal entry that was recently released to the public, Brown openly expressed the details of his abusive nature.
"I became an abuser and hurt Molly physically emotionally and verbally. I viewed myself as God basically and she was my slave," Brown said.
Brown also admitted that he abused her in front of the kids, labeling himself as a bad father figure and causing harm in the household. But when did all of this information become apparent to the Giants organization and the league? Before the season started, they were completely aware that the kicker had been abusive, but still decided to re-sign him with a 2 year $4 million deal. The Giants' owner had some poorly worded comments in response to the issue:
"He certainly admitted to us that he abused his wife in the past. What's a little unclear is the extent of that," Mara said.
The public had brief knowledge about his history, but the league addressed it as an "in the moment" incident and attempted to silence critics by handing him a one-game suspension. Apparently, it is now known that the NFL could have conducted a more thorough investigation back then to determine the severity of situation. There were reports from his ex-wife Molly recording 20 situations of domestic abuse. The official documents could have been obtained by the league, but they never even made an effort to contact Molly and discuss the reports.
The sad part in all of this is that the Giants organization took a public stance on domestic abuse just a year ago. Coach McAdoo said that it was something he could never tolerate, while Eli Manning led a PSA about preventing domestic abuse. However, both parties are now supporting Brown, despite the blatant evidence of his mistreatment.
“We are not going to turn our back on Josh,” McAdoo said. “He is a teammate." “He’s a guy we're hoping makes strides.”
McAdoo made it known that he would not turn his back on a player (or his field goal percentage). Josh Brown has been nearly perfect this season, with 11 out of 12 successful field goals. He has the kicked the ball from beyond 50 yard with poise and performs well under pressure. Would he be defending Brown if he wasn't a huge asset to the team? There is a distinct difference between genuinely wanting someone to change for the better and utilizing them for their ability to help win games.
The league needs consistency and structure. The outcome of the Ray Rice situation is that he is pretty much blacklisted from the NFL. He has accepted this and continues to speak about domestic abuse, inspiring others to learn form his mistakes. The only difference between cases is that Rice's abuse was caught on camera, while Brown had a personal journal. The outcome needs to be the same. It is not justified to end Rice's career, but allow Brown to finish the season with a guaranteed paycheck and access to the facility. Just about everyone has noticed the change in attitude. NFL athletes, retirees, and even family members of players are distraught over the different treatment with two similar situations. In the face of pure disdain and criticism, Goodell continues to stay relatively silent. The most concerning part is that they pay attention to the irrelevant things with actual pride. The league is fining players like crazy for dancing in the end zone or wearing slightly colorful cleats, but there is less focus on harming another person. Please save your pink gear and your V-neck shirts and start speaking out against abuse. According to the league's mistreatment of women, it appears that 45 percent of fans are invisible, their value diminished by statistical proficiency.