We Shouldn't Have to Choose Between NFL and Fighting Abuse

Yet league is letting domestic violence slide: Chelsea Cristene
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 18, 2014 11:27 AM CDT
We Shouldn't Have to Choose Between NFL and Fighting Abuse
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice sits on the sideline during an NFL preseason football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, in Baltimore.   (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

No one should have to choose between opposing domestic violence and enjoying the NFL—but the league's conduct is forcing us to confront such decisions, writes Chelsea Cristene at the Good Men Project, via Salon. In the latest disturbing incident, the Baltimore Ravens' Ray Rice has been caught on video dragging his fiancee from an elevator, and his punishment from commissioner Roger Goodell was a two-game suspension—less than others have received for smoking weed, Cristene notes. That prompted an open letter from hardcore fan Lisa Schare Johnson announcing her resignation from NFL fandom, a letter she shouldn't have had to write, Cristene observes.

Cristene recalls her childhood adoration for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but she wonders what she'd tell that girl now about the NFL. "That it’s run by a commissioner who doles out stricter punishments for lighting up a doobie than for beating a woman," she writes, or "that her father will walk into a middle school, as he did last week, and see a cutout of the 'role model' running back propped up in a cafeteria full of preteens who, someday, want to play just like him." She adds: "As an American consumer, I have every right to boycott the NFL, to withdraw the only means of communication—money—that Roger Goodell apparently understands. But I shouldn’t have to sacrifice a part of my identity that, like womanhood, is central to who I am." Click for the full piece. (More NFL stories.)

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