By Ashanti Bradshaw
This has been a week shrouded with rather unflattering off-season news for two NFL superstars, one active and the other now contributes his time to the NFL Network (same network that thought bringing on a certain former Raider/Buccaneer blowhard/crumb snatcher/cancer amongst women would be a banner idea).
I know who they are. You know who they are but for laughs let’s just refer to them as Beavis & Butthead. Why “Beavis & Butthead”, you say? I say “why not?”
Beavis is currently facing 2 counts of allegedly drugging and raping 2 women, as if the Saints needed more negative exposure post-Bounty Gate. Meanwhile Butthead was spotted in a casino channeling his inner WWE entertainer by choke-slamming his fianceè (was The People’s Elbow not a good enough move to get your point across?) and dragging her.
I know you’re saying “Wow that’s digusting!” and I absolutely agree, this behavior has been going on for much longer than most would like to admit to. Some would ask “Is anything being done about it?” Well there is the Personal Conduct policy that players agree to, in no way do I feel domestic violence is covered the way it needs to be. This is a learned behavior, no one starts abusing women the minute that ink dries on their contract.
Even with the NFL launching tactics geared towards female fans, like the form-fitting jerseys and NFL apparel line found in stores like Victoria’s Secret, no amount of bejeweled pink jerseys or pink cleats for Breast Cancer Awareness Month is going to deflect my focus away from the fact that the league truly has no deep respect for women nor does it plan to even entertain trying to see us as anything but subserviant breeders who should only respond to “Kitchen, now!”.
Also consider the fact that famed tennis powerhouses, Venus and Serena Williams, are both minority owners of the Miami Dolphins, another team that had a whopper of a shadow cast upon it when the Incognito/Martin incident began. An incident that was rife with bigotry and racist names, which is ongoing in locker room culture but in the case of what the media has deemed a “bullying scandal” amongst the Dolphins’ club one could ask if the Williams sisters felt insulted by having players on the team who think so little about minorities(in this instance, women and blacks)? Do they even care this is tolerated? I’m sure they had an inkling as to what they were getting into before agreeing to take a stake in the franchise but I know that they’re really just “one of the gang” for the sake of exposure. No matter how that exposure makes you look.
Do I expect sweeping changes in response to the ongoing lapse in the league’s understanding of women & how it should be known from the front offices down to the mascots? Of course not. But I’m not going to act like I’m not fully aware of how out of touch the NFL is & that they aren’t really ready for change, they’d just rather give the impression that they’re hip and cool and “down” when really they’re mumbling under their breath about your worthlessness simply because of who you are and that you exist.
Just as I mentioned in my previous piece “O Gay Brother, Where Art Thou?”, on the surface the league isn’t as ready for out & proud players as they want to elude to* just like they will never take women seriously. But so long as you’re willing to fork over all your money to help add to sales in NFL merch, then the greater good is beyond pleased and all that ugliness about how players treat/view women is swept under the proverbial team emblem-ladled rug….
….you know, til one of us is killed by a player. Maybe by accident, maybe for not staying in our place. But you know it’s coming. What’s that thing people say about history repeating itself & how “it has to get worse before it gets better”? Right. I would rather my extreme example not be the end result that shakes things up but clouds are also not made of cotton candy so all one (woman) really can do is pray to your religious deity (be it Jesus, Buddah, that shrine of Tom Brady complete with a lock of his hair and a pair of unworn classic UGGS, or Aquaman) and hope for the best.
* (UPDATE:as I wrote this news broke that the Brooklyn Nets will sign Jason Collins so I’ll definitely be watching to see what type of reception spawns from this)