Over the last couple of weeks, the question that has been raised again and again is whether or not we should still watch the NFL, the query being set against the backdrop of numerous incidents of domestic violence and other criminal activities by the players. While this is an understandable reaction to the reports of vile incidents that have taken place, the idea of boycotting the league is one that may make individuals feel better about themselves, but will do nothing to affect change. The general feeling that has been voiced over the last few weeks following the Ray Rice video release, charges brought against Greg Hardy and Jonathan Dwyer, alongside the arrest of Adrian Peterson for hitting his four-year old son with a branch, has been “what’s wrong with the NFL?”. This misses the point, the real question is “What’s wrong with men?”.
This is not just an issue with the NFL. An estimated 1.3 million women each year are the victims of domestic violence; 25% of women experience abuse during their lifetimes; one-third of female homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner (all figures from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and all are estimated because a large number of domestic violence cases are never reported). Domestic violence can only be stopped by one group of people: not the NFL, who have certainly not helped themselves by the appalling manner in which they’ve handled these issues; not the prognosticating talking heads in the media; and certainly not the victims, who might be in fear for their lives and those of their children, so the question of “why would you stay with someone who hits you?” is particularly ignorant. The only group that can bring an end to domestic violence are men. It’s quite simple, do not hit your spouse. No. Matter. What. It’s cowardly. It’s abhorrent. It’s wrong.
As for Peterson – if you think hitting a FOUR YEAR OLD CHILD with a branch, switch, hand or anything, teaches them something other than violence is acceptable, you’re mistaken. I mean, this should not even be a debate. I cannot even elaborate on this because it is so basic.
That’s not to say that the NFL and its fans cannot do their part: not rooting for players who commit such vile acts, teams should be willing to cut players no matter how important they are to the franchise if they are found guilty of such crimes. The Ravens should offer a free jersey exchange for those who have Ray Rice on the back of their shirts and fans should want to trade them in. Even something as seemingly insignificant as a fantasy league – would you really want to win if the key to your success was Peterson or Rice? A message needs to be sent – in the NFL and as a society in general – that domestic violence is not acceptable and those who do it should be ostracized. Oh and of course, Roger Goodell should resign.
Hopefully before too long, players will start behaving better and we can get back to myriad discussions about whether or not Eli Manning is an elite quarterback, rather than the latest scandal that has erupted. A few notes before my week 3 picks:
- More than half of the league have 1-1 records after the opening two weeks. Three of the 7 who are 2-0: Houston have matched their win total from last season already; the Eagles have trailed by 14+ points in the second half of both of their contests but ended up winning; and the Buffalo Bills…!
- In 2013, Kansas City did not suffer their second loss of the season until Week 12; in 2014 they have started 0-2.
- New Orleans starting 0-2 may be something of a surprise, but Drew Brees and the Saints are never quite the same on the road and I expect them to bounce back this weekend against the Vikings.
- Super Bowl rematch this weekend – Broncos at Seahawks. I’m guessing if they win the toss, Denver will elect to defer to avoid a potential first-play safety again in Seattle’s stadium, which I have heard a rumor can get quite loud.
- Eli Manning is not an elite quarterback, but on two occasions he has played at an elite level to lead the Giants to two Super Bowls. Can we never, ever talk about this again please.
Week 3 Picks
Last week, 6-10; Season, 17-15
Home teams in bold
Falcons -6.5 over Buccaneers
Chargers +2.5 over Bills
Bengals -6.5 over Titans
Browns +1.5 over Ravens
Cowboys -0.5 over Rams
Packers +1.5 over Lions
Colts -6.5 over Jaguars
Patriots -14.5 over Raiders
Saints -10.5 over Vikings
Giants +2.5 over Texans
Eagles -6.5 over Washington
Cardinals +2.5 over 49ers
Seahawks -4.5 over Broncos
Dolphins -4.5 over Chiefs
Panthers -3.5 over Steelers
Bears +2.5 over Jets