Anyone feel like taking the lead on this one? Even Solange Knowles would be offended by Rice’s elevator etiquette. Where’s the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence? With the Che Guevaras of the Internet busy chasing an 80-year-old, Jewish racist out of the NBA, should we ask our U.S. Senate for help?
Sorry, they’re too busy writing letters to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell urging the Washington Redskins to change their team name. Why take a stand against the alarming rise of domestic violence in the NFL when we are only two centuries removed from the Trail of Tears? Remember, kids, it’s not the player wearing the jersey who’s offensive, such as new Redskin receiver DeSean Jackson, a player who admits knowing and associating with gang members, it’s the actual jersey.
These are your tax dollars at work, elected officials taking time out of a busy day that most likely includes cleaning up the VA scandal to make sure feelings, not people’s fiancés or wives, aren’t hurt. This should come as no surprise – but not without outrage – in a world where being politically correct is more important than following the letter of the law, and, more decisively, a world where revenue figures make difficult decisions a whole lot easier to digest.
Rest assured, if Rice channeling his inner Riddick Bowe on a public elevator did as much to threaten the NFL’s sponsorship revenue as Donald Sterling’s racist remarks hurt the NBA’s bottom line (several major sponsors cut ties in the immediate aftermath) Goodell would’ve acted accordingly. He would’ve had to do something to appease the check-writers threatening to take money out of the owners’ pockets.
Since no one in Oprah Winfrey’s tax bracket with any real influence seems to care, Rice will be present for the first day of training camp and he’ll be on the field in Week 1 when the Ravens host Cincinnati. Teammate Joe Flacco said he doesn’t expect the league to do anything “crazy,” such as suspend Rice for any length of time. Imagine that – a guy knocks his wife cold and players think the league, not their teammate, would be crazy if that player were suspended. It shows you what kind of monster the NFL has created. It’s become so lax with disciplining its players for egregious behavior the players now think it’s outrageous to be held accountable for their actions.
This is where real activism would help. Super Bowl ad revenue has soared past $300 million per year. Advertisers spend roughly $4 million for a 30-second spot. If potential advertisers for next year’s game – Chevrolet, Bud Light, Doritos, whoever – threatened to boycott in the face of the NFL’s laissez-fair approach toward domestic violence, the league would get a much-needed wake-up call.
Whenever a league talks about its image, it’s really referring to its revenue stream. How do you judge whether or not your league’s image has suffered a blow? Take a poll? You look at revenue figures. If they’re up, you’re doing fine. If they’ve dipped, you’ve got a problem. Until something slows the financial avalanche burying every other major sport by a landslide, the NFL will continue to put money over morals.
If you demand change, do something about it. If you don’t have the clout to make a difference, influence someone who does. Hashtags won’t change anything. Dollars will.
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