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So I’m not a football fan, or even that much of a sports
fan. Most everything I know about
Baltimore I learned from watching "The Wire." And before yesterday, The Ravens might as easily have been a punk rock
band or an Edgar Allan Poe-inspired something or other, as it was an NFL
So how on earth does that qualify me to have an opinion on
the firing of NFL Ravens’ football
player Ray Rice after video footage of him hitting his then fiancé, now wife,
Janay Rice, in an Atlantic City elevator came to light yesterday?
More sports-minded folks than me have tackled this
subject for months now, since the incident of abuse first came to light. There has been ongoing debate about whether
or not the two-game suspension Rice originally got hit with (pun certainly
intended) was enough of a penalty for a
man seen dragging a woman from an elevator.
All of that changed yesterday in a quick game of ass
coverage as both The Ravens and the NFL could not distance themselves from Rice
quickly enough when the new video footage of Ms. Rice getting clocked in the
face and knocked out cold surfaced.
Today, Janay Rice took to Instagram to bemoan the
consequences of her husband’s actions. She posted:
"I woke up this morning feeling like I
had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest
friend. But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare in
itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted options from the public
has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret
every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that
he has worked his ass of for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.
THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us,
embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on
so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what
real love is! Ravensnation we love you!"
I think it’s important to see all of her words, to
understand what her concerns are at this moment, and that they revolve around
her husband. Janay Rice is a victim of
domestic violence. Most victims of
domestic violence are silenced. Most
victims of domestic violence learn quickly to choose their words carefully,
apply makeup strategically and not to ever cause too much of a stir. Being the victim of domestic violence and
living in the public eye has not made that easy.
Domestic violence has effectively come out of the elevator, and we need to talk about it.
Janay Rice’s response, to me, seems very much in line with being
the victim of abuse and violence. My
first thought upon hearing the news yesterday was an immediate, “Oh, this will
not be good for the wife.” That’s blunt,
Folks will continue to debate this matter. Some will suggest, that “it takes two to
tango,” as I saw it put so indelicately on a friend’s Facebook wall
yesterday. Others will wonder what more
the NFL will do to support women and condemn men who abuse.
As a mom, I am more concerned about what our children, boys and girls, will learn from this
matter. And make no mistake about it — our kids are aware when this kind of thing plays out in the media.
Talk with your sons and daughters about Ray and Janay
Rice. Learn what their take is on
it. What are the kids at school
saying? Do they agree or disagree? What do they think should happen?
There have been many confusing messages sent to our kids
about domestic violence and more will follow. Help them decode those messages, both spoken and unspoken. Help them understand that hitting, no matter
who throws the first punch, is never okay. Help them see how the media and social media can make private business
very, very public. Help them come to
value the importance of accepting responsibility for our own actions, even when
it results in horrible consequences.
Ray Rice might not like it, Janay Rice might not like it,
either, but when their very private business gets splashed in the face of my
kids, it becomes my business. Domestic
violence has effectively come out of the elevator, and we need to talk about it.