Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The NFL Doesn't Care About Women

Let's be clear on one thing right off the bat: the NFL doesn't hate women.

No, the NFL can't hate women, because to hate someone or something, you have to give that person or thing a measure of attention and importance, and it's obvious by now that the powers that be at the National Football League have never in their lives spared a passing thought for women.

Oh sure, long enough to dye some merchandise pink - but that's not about women, really, it's about women's money.

Then again, why should we be surprised? The NFL doesn't care about the health and safety of its own players until its bottom line is threatened, so why should it care about the women those players spend their time with?

The NFL decided that "probably knowing" that someone was deflating footballs was worth twice as many games suspended and $941,177 more in fines than beating a woman. Sure, Ray Rice ended up missing more games, but not until a horrific video surfaced and the NFL was facing public anger.

But we never stay very angry for long, do we? Ben Roethlisberger, serial rapist, takes the field every Sunday for Pittsburgh. Oh, and by the way, the suspension he served? Four games.

Darryl Washington smoked marijuana - a victimless crime, and completely legal now in multiple states - and he was suspended sixteen games. So, according to the NFL's metric, using a drug that can hardly be considered performance enhancing is eight times worse than beating a woman, and four times worse than sexually assaulting multiple women.

Terrelle Pryor was suspended five games for accepting gifts while in college. So accepting free stuff [when the NCAA is phenomenally broken] is two-and-a-half times as bad as beating a woman, and 25% worse than sexually assaulting multiple women.

[In case you think the Ray Rice penalty was some sort of exception, Sam Brandon, Leroy Hill, Brandon Underwood, and Cary Williams  were all suspended just two games for beating women.]

"But what they do off the field doesn't interfere with the integrity of the game the way deflating footballs does," you might protest, if you're an asshole who thinks having rapists and woman-beaters on the field doesn't affect the integrity of the game.

If you genuinely see no problem with the punishments laid out by the NFL in response to various infractions, I want you to look every woman you know in the face and tell them that you are more concerned with deflating footballs and smoking marijuana than you would be by their abuser being on the field.

Even if there was video proof that Tom Brady let air out of those footballs personally, while smoking a blunt and giggling to himself, his transgressions would not be worse than those of Rice, Roethlisberger, Brandon, Hill, Underwood, and Williams.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that cheating on the field is acceptable, or even that Brady shouldn't be punished - the point of all this is that the NFL's own metric for punishment values the lives and safety of women less than it does a few hisses of air from game balls.

The NFL doesn't care about women. The NFL has never, ever cared about women - even when they try to pay lip service to the idea, it rings hollow.

The NFL doesn't care about women, so I'm done with the NFL. I'm not buying any more merchandise, or watching anymore games until they make this right.

Given their track record, I think it's safe to assume I'll be strictly a baseball fan from here on out.

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