The Fist of Football- Domestic Violence in Sports

Tiny - Posted on 06 May 2018

SF 49ers Linebacker Reuben Foster’s February arrest for domestic violence, weapons possession and criminal threats has hit a nerve as the number of abusive athletes with “untouchable” attitudes have risen atrociously over the past several years. Money, privilege, and arrogance mixed in with a few individuals who cannot control their emotions when dealing with everyday relationships can lead to these of incidents of violence in the home. Domestic Violence does not care about money or class but in a lot of cases you have these “big jumbo” men with money tend to get more slaps on the behind for brutalizing these much smaller females whom they cannot relate to in the first place.


Ray Rice gained super-noreity when he knocked his then fiancee (now wife) Janay Palmer unconscious in an elevator March 2014 in a domestic violence case that had pots boiling over because of the leniency people felt he had received. (suspended but later reinstated) Since early 2012 until September 2017 around 33 NFL players have been arrested on a variety of charges but out of the alleged 33, 15 were arrested for violence against women. Jonathan Dwyer was charged with domestic violence against wife, along with athletes, Ray McDonald, (domestic violence against girlfriend), Chad Johnson (head butted wife over a box of condoms he had allegedly bought) and Jovan Belcher who shot his girlfriend multiple times, killing her before killing himself. The list is sadly much longer.


Today’s sports industry is majority wealthy white male dominated when it comes down to team ownership while the players have a make-up of mostly men of color. With fame for some comes the lie that there’s an “untouchable” card that comes along with a huge bank account and all the perks that “massa” did not allow for the “player” to have access to. To be just like massa is a subconscious thinking pattern that has contributed to some of the athletes’ problems in the first place- the “big, brute” slave that wants to massa. The subliminal message is in plain sight.


The women who have to walk in the painful footprints of being a survivor of domestic violence have a lot on their plates, too. Being in a relationship with a celebrity who gives her everything she desires except for her black eyes and bloody noses is not what she signed up for but the lifestyle intoxication, trying to keep up with the “joneses” and the fear of poverty will lead to a costly compromise. In my early years as a compromising survivor I also felt at one point that I did not want to “give up” the money, the honey, the cars or the nice apartment but when I looked in the mirror and saw the temporary disfigurement of my face and felt the pain, I had a inner warning come over me that I will not be around to enjoy all these material “perks”. I got out the volatile relationship without any money or material stuff, but I understood that my life and children were priceless.


Whether the man is an athlete or janitor, domestic violence is domestic violence. How can we, as hurt people stop hurting people in the first place. There is a lack of healing in the process of people’s lives while the world expects a traumatized person to just “get over it and move on”

That is way easier said than done to the one that’s missing a compassion chip or for the one that favors sports over lives. The struggle continues.

Illustration by Emma Rust


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