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A Black Eye for Us All

smiley-150838_640For a brief period of time, over the last few weeks, I have felt like it was 1914 and not 2014…

How far we have advanced in technology, medicine and overall quality of life? Yet, we don’t appear to have progressed at all in other areas.  I find myself uncertain, not quite sure how to explain to my son what we have all become and what he is seeing in our current society.

Over a 3-week period, we have seen things happening in Ferguson, MO; news people losing their lives in the Middle East; and now we have the dysfunction that the NFL has become.

The first two topics deserve much more then just a 600-word blog post, and also should be spoken about by someone fair more qualified and articulate then myself.

What I want to write about today is what is happening in the NFL, and also how that statement is reflective of us–as a society.  I’m really not sure where to start. A lot of people seem to think the NFL went off the rails, when they gave Ray Rice a two-game suspension for striking his- then-girlfriend in February. And, I agree… it was not a long-enough suspension.

Regardless of what we all think about the “slap-on-the-wrist” mentality, THAT was the decision.

Further, our Justice system allowed him to enter a pre-trial program. Then, upon completion, they’ll expunge the crime from his record (it’ll be like he never did it).

So, there was a public outcry (of course). We demanded justice, said it was wrong, and asked for accountability (that he would receive a penalty comparable with the crime). Domestic violence was immediately plastered all over the Jumbo-Tron of America’s favorite sport. We couldn’t hide from it (even if we’d wanted to). We had a police report that told us everything. We were shocked and appalled, We demanded better from “OUR” sport, from “Our” sports figures. We have never seen this type of behavior from “Our” league and players… SHOCKING!

Wait! Yes we have! Two years ago, we had a guy in Kansas City, who killed his girlfriend and then himself (the team played the next day. Not too many years back, we had a guy who killed dogs (now, he’s a  back-up QB for the Jets). We had a guy who killed someone in a hit-and-run accident in Miami the year before that (he played that season and 2 more after that). A few years after that, we had a guy in St. Louis who kill someone in a DUI accident (he played in the league for another 6 years).

YES, we want “Our” league to be better. But, what does it say about us? The NFL has never been more popular ($9 billion in revenue last year). We still watch. We still go to the games, and we buy the jerseys and the NFL Sunday Ticket.

We have had all of these events (tragedies) happen (and those are just a few of the highlights that we KNOW about); yet, are we really that upset, or outraged, by some NFL players?

The Ray Rice “problem” was on the verge of going away (being swept under the proverbial rug, like all the other NFL embarrassments)–until that Monday morning. TMZ gave us a video that allowed us to really SEE that violent act from back in February. For the first time, it was more than just reports or gossip or talking heads; it was real.

So, how do I explain that disconnect to my son? Why do we need to see a video to know just how violent and wrong domestic violence is? Why do we need to see it played out to know that things really need to change. Domestic violence is just that: “VIOLENT”!

So, we all seem to have a black eye on this one…  Why do we need to see it to know what it looks like it? Why do we need to see the violent replay of a reprehensible action to be shocked into action? It wasn’t just the NFL, and our justice system, that got it wrong. It was us as a society that dropped the ball on this.

We should demand better of them and of us.

About Don Jackson

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