ESPN sports journalist, Stephen A. Smith and the NFL have given a whole new meaning to the saying, “Dogs are a man’s best friend” in regards to the formers insensitive remarks toward domestic violence victims and the latter’s light sentencing for a player accused of domestic violence towards his then fiancé.
In an organization that pretty much distanced itself from former star athlete Michael Vick after his 2007 conviction and subsequent jail sentence for running an illegal dog fighting ring, the recent two game suspension of Ray Rice seems pretty minor and sends out the message that beating is ok, as long as the female is of the human persuasion, but harm to female dogs, well that’s another story. Is the NFL, more particularly the Baltimore Ravens, and the insensitive remarks of Smith perpetuating the stigma and often ignorance that is shown toward the victims of domestic violence? By only suspending a man for two games that was clearly seen dragging his unconscious fiancé from an elevator, are we saying that abusers only deserve a slap on the wrist, especially if like Stephen A. Smith suggests, victims sometimes provoke the attacks by not being aware of the “elements of provocation”.
Smith has since apologized for his insensitive remarks and the NFL’s VP of labor policy and government affairs, Adolph Birch has spoken out in support of the NFL’s two game suspension, but it appears that the damage has been done as both have sent out a clear message on where they stand in regards to domestic violence. On another note, it does have to be mentioned that Rice and his then fiancé Janay Palmer have since married. So can we really punish a man whose victim seems to have so easily forgiven him herself? Or is the new Mrs. Rice like a lot of victims who can’t and won’t leave their abusers. It’s hard to say, but what is apparent is the fact that the NFL needs to take a greater stand on domestic violence.
Stephen Smith’s Apology