Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Secret (Is Out)

What was an inconvenient snow flurry is suddenly becoming a dangerous avalanche. US House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (D) are calling for the San Francisco 49ers to bench Ray McDonald while he's under investigation for abusing his pregnant now-wife. The Minnesota Vikings have suspended Adrian Peterson while he's under investigation for child abuse. The Carolina Panthers have just deactivated Greg Hardy following the public revelation of his May domestic violence conviction (he assaulted his girlfriend and threatened to kill her). And 12 other NFL players arrested on domestic violence charges are still active in the league.

It's not just Ray Rice any more. In fact, it never really was. Yet apparently, it took this avalanche of controversy to fall for NFL executives to finally realize they have a serious problem on their hands.

Corporate sponsors, such as Nike, Radisson, Castrol, Cover Girl, and Anheuser-Busch, are either pulling ad deals or issuing "concerned" statements. A growing number of fans are now making #BoycottNFL viral. And even the most hardcore NFL fanatics must now come to terms with the harsh reality of domestic violence...

Or maybe not? Already, rumors are buzzing about another NFL team potentially picking up Ray Rice. And that may be due to the NFL Players Association appealing the NFL's indefinite suspension of Rice. Even as some top NFL officials are signaling their willingness to make changes, others (hint: the owners) have just gone into hiding.

After surviving the firestorm that erupted when the Ray Rice story first broke, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh made some interesting comments about the meta here. Whether NFL bosses like it or not, this isn't something they can hide from. And whether we like it or not, this isn't something we can hide from.

In a fascinating twist, the NFL just hired Cynthia Hogan as its new Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs. In a past career life, she worked with then Senator (now Vice President) Joe Biden (D-Delaware) on drafting and passing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). It remains to be seen how the NFL's newest top lobbyist will "resolve" this issue going forward.

But right now, we must ask this: How will we resolve this issue going forward? When War Machine/Jonathan Koppenhaver was making national headlines over his assault on then girlfriend Christy Mack and Corey Thomas, we noted that domestic violence is an issue that goes far beyond the confines of UFC, Bellator, and even MMA (mixed martial arts) in general. The same rings true for the 49ers, the Ravens, the Vikings, and the NFL in general. This is still a problem for American society in general.

In debuting her new daytime talk show, former NBC "Today" co-host Meredith Vieira revealed a very dark and painful secret on national TV. It's a secret that only people like Vieira, Christy Mack, and Janay Rice can fully comprehend. And it's a secret that we shouldn't force any person to keep to oneself.

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The secret is out. There's no hiding it back in some dark corner. And really, we never should have done that in the first place. So what will we all do to end the seemingly endless cycle of violent misogyny that threatens way too many American women?

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