Addressing the real domestic violence problem
By ANNIE MOORE
College Contributor Network
In the months since video surfaced of Ray Rice beating Janay Palmer, he has become a pariah. Fans getting rid of their jerseys, some casual fans abandoning the entire Ravens franchise, and others calling for his banishment from the National Football League.
In the 14 years since Floyd "Money" Mayweather plead guilty to his first count of battery domestic violence, he has become a phenom. Becoming the world's highest-paid athlete, buying fast cars and spending money like it's going out of style. Oh, and don't forget, openly flaunting his 'good' qualities and lack of punishment for violence against women.
"Everybody that knows Floyd Mayweather knows I'm a good guy," Mayweather said in 2002. "I have never been to jail."
Nine years later in 2011, Mayweather plead guilty to misdemeanor battery domestic violence and no contest to two counts of harassment after beating the mother of three of his children. One of the children witnessed the violence and was the one who called 911 to report it. Mayweather served 60 days in prison. Despite a guilty plea, he later had the following to say to Katie Couric about the incident.
"Did I kick, stomp and beat someone? No, that didn't happen. I look in your face and say, 'No, that didn't happen.' Did I restrain a woman that was on drugs? Yes, I did. So if they say that's domestic violence, then, you know what? I'm guilty. I'm guilty of restraining someone."
Aside from the semantics and show of the "Money Team", these are the facts. Mayweather has been accused of domestic violence seven times in the past 14 years, six of those accusations resulting in formal legal charges. Mayweather has made public statements that not only insult his victims, but the intelligence and integrity of anyone who listens.
So what is the difference between Ray Rice and Money Mayweather? Why is one an outcast and another a hero? Because when video surfaces, people are forced to take a stand. You can't turn the other cheek when footage of someone beating their then-fiance is on every television set you turn on. The inconvenient truth for many "fervent" Ray Rice haters is that theirs is a position of necessity. No rational person is really "pro-domestic violence". But if it is able to be ignored, many will. This is where Mayweather comes in.
There are no videos of him beating these women, there are no pictures on our television screens of him in a compromising position. There's footage of a woman being wheeled out of their house on a stretcher with EMS after an alleged attack, but hey that could have happened any number of ways.
As a society we are quick to be offended when something surfaces that is so obviously offensive. But when there's nothing in our faces to challenge us to care, who really does care? This kind of passive "activism" isn't activism at all, and it is a disservice to the cause. There is no such thing as a casual women's rights activist. You either care about the issue, or you're a Mayweather fan.
Many Mayweather supporters, including his own father, become very defensive when confronted with his atrocious history of battering women. When ESPN's Outside the Lines asked Mayweather Sr. about his son's convictions and history of domestic violence, his father had a visceral reaction.
"Are you the police?" Mayweather Sr. shouted. "Don't tell me nothing about what Floyd is doing with his beating his women and all that, man. This is boxing."
Unfortunately, the Nevada Athletic Commission took the same approach, approving Mayweather's license to box in the May 2 fight against Pacquiao, unanimously. And why not? The fight brought in hundreds of millions of dollars through ticket sales, wagers, pay per view revenue and advertising. One does not have to have a degree in economics to understand that Nevada and Las Vegas stand to gain a large chunk of that.
Pat Lundvall, the sole female member of the Nevada Athletic Commission was interviewed for the same Outside the Lines piece, in which she stated, "Do I believe domestic violence is a very serious issue? Absolutely." Just not as serious as the serious paycheck that Nevada is about to cash.
It's time to stop making excuses, distinctions and changes in wording. It's time to stop weighing potential benefits of giving abusers a pass. It's time to stop pretending to be offended by everything and actually stand up for something.
Annie Moore is a junior at the University of Louisville majoring in Communications with a Sport Administration minor. She believes Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame. Follow her on Twitter: @AnyMoreSports