I’ve been paying pretty close attention to the NFL controversy over the past few weeks—I guess since the “first” video of Ray Rice abusing his then-fiancée was released. In that video, what we see is the aftermath of him cold-cocking her in an elevator. He is dragging her completely boneless and inert body along the floor to get it out of the elevator, pulling her limbs into awkward positions that would likely be painful if she weren’t unconscious. I was horrified by the video and will never understood why so many people apparently had to see the “second” version—in which we actually see his fist connect with her face, dropping her like a stone to the floor—in order to be properly upset by the whole thing.
I guess I should be glad that people are getting upset, even if it’s belatedly. I’ve actually been bothered by several previous NFL “controversies,” most notably the Michael Vick dog abuse case, for a good while now. It really nagged at me that Vick was allowed to rejoin the NFL and keep playing, albeit after he did spend some time in jail. I believe he paid some fines and had to speak to kids about why it was a bad thing to electrocute dogs with rods inserted in their anuses, because the dogs wouldn’t properly tear one another apart in a fighting ring, or because they were worn-out from such fighting.
Well thank the good gods for small favors.
I believe it is wrong and contemptible to abuse and/or murder dogs, cats, women, men, children, convicted felons and all living beings. Before anyone asks, no, I am not a vegan. I do eat meat on occasion, and I wear leather. And that troubles me. I wish the world were perfect, and we could survive eating only what animals died of natural causes, or that at least all farm animals could live in free-range situations and be killed for their meat in as humane and painless a way as possible.
But we do not live in that world. I just do what I can to make things better in small ways. I have rescued and fostered both cats and dogs, mostly cats, for many years. I contribute to several animal charities, including the Humane Society of the United States, which works toward the reduction and eventual elimination of cruel factory farming and other inhumane practices. I also speak out against the death penalty and contribute to Amnesty International.
In the past I have not actually contributed much in the way of money or time to organizations dedicated to preventing domestic violence and helping its victims. I do give to our local United Way, which does support some local agencies that do these things. And I’ve spoken out at times about the wrongness of spousal abuse, of hitting the ones you profess to love. But not really very often.
I think, now, that it’s time for me and people like me to give this some serious thought. I’ve often thought, in the past, that I was more involved with animal rights because animals can’t speak for themselves. In fact, one of the marketing slogans for the ASPCA is “We are their voice.” But it seems that the voices of abused women (and please don’t start with me about how some men are abused by their wives; I’m sure it’s true, but let’s all be adults here and realize that the vast majority of people being punched in the face and knocked unconscious by their spouses are women being hit by men) need some help being heard. I know that Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, hasn’t heard them loudly enough yet.
[As an aside, did you, Gentle Reader, by chance actually watch that insane press conference on Sept. 19? Or read some of what Goodell spewed and sputtered out? In case you missed it, here’s a choice gem:
I am wearing a black suit, and black suits are serious. I had a committee pick the suit, and I will have a committee look into domestic violence, because domestic violence is a problem we need to address, and it’s a problem in the NFL and throughout society and also in other countries, but I take full responsibility for my mistake, and, really, there may even be domestic violence on other planets, because I mean, ya never know…
Ya never know.]
So I think it’s time for all good men, and women, to raise our voices quite a big louder and make sure Goodell—and the offenders of the NFL and other sports and those abusers in homes all over our country and the world—hear the outcry. Domestic violence has got to stop. We must work together to stop it.
Whatever it takes.