I’ve been reading the recent press about the NFL’s response to a brutal domestic violence incident Ray Rice committed against his then fiancée, now wife. Surveillance video shows him dragging her, seemingly unconscious, out of an elevator. There’s a positive note (miniscule but not insignificant); his violent and criminal conduct in his personal life was deemed a violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy (decades ago this would have been brushed aside as a private matter.)
I usually am reticent to read comments after articles, but this time I think the observations really key into some core issues related to domestic violence. Jane McManus commented, “Last month I interviewed NFL head of HR. He told me we simply don’t tolerate instances of domestic violence.” Sounds like a solid organization values right? But numerous people observed that their actions don’t seem to uphold that value.
Even though we longer tacitly condone domestic violence with the words, ‘that’s a private matter’, I do think when we hear the words ‘domestic violence’ we still unconsciously reclassify these assaults as less criminal. Punching someone in the face and knocking them unconscious is a brutal act of violence; the brutality is in no way diminished by the fact that this is someone you love.