December 2, 2014
@SteveTressler on Twitter
LEXINGTON – Yesterday I was complaining to someone about something very minor I’m dealing with and a friend said to me, “Hey, life could be worse, you could be Ray Rice.”
Don’t read too far into that. After all, the comment itself is intended to be superficial, although its meaning does bring forth a troubling and recurring script.
No doubt. We’ll get to that in just a second.
Have you heard this one? “Man so what, he hit that woman one time and his life is over! Did anyone know she hit him too?!”
If that’s how you feel, congratulations on being able to read, now go back to your cave and draw something.
For the rest of us, it’s adult time.
Here’s what we continue to see and hear, hand delivered through multiple media sources, social media, TV, radio etc.
BREAKING STORY: (BLACK) Big name athlete, big money, celebrity status, assaults someone, gets a DWI, hits woman, (put yours here)loses job, millions in pay gone, team embarrassed, league reviewing safety procedures to ensure this doesn’t happen again, player to make statement, team says ‘this is not the type of behavior we expect from any member of our organization.’
Notice anything missing? Notice what shouldn’t be there?
Let’s slow down, for Rice’s part he is going to participate in a pretrial intervention program. (Get out of jail free card?) But he will get a trial. To Rice’s credit, on the surface, he has done everything right, even if what he initially did was wrong. Quite frankly, at this point, it’s none of anyone else’s business but Mr. and Mrs. Rice.
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice smiles before a pre-season game Aug. 23, 2014 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Md.
We seem to be so attuned as a society today to fixing the blame, but rarely, if ever, are we as prepared or willing to put in real effort to fix the problem.
Which begs the question; What is the problem?
Why do professional athletes, especially NFL players, seem to hit woman or are involved in so many assaults off the field? I mean Aaron Hernandez, the former Patriots star, is facing double-murder charges. There have been 50 arrests this year of NFL players. Second, be glad you don’t have to hold a press conference if you ever cheat on your wife (Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant) or get a DUI (Marshawn Lynch, Jason Kidd) or if you flee police, because you are about to get cited for parking in a handicapped spot (see Shonn Greene, RB, Tennessee Titans, arrested for allegedly parking in a handicapped space and fleeing as an officer tried to issue a $25 citation, Greene earns over 3 million annually.).
But again, why do professional athletes, especially NFL players, seem to be involved in so many crimes off the field?
The fact is ‘regular guys’ 25-29 are a lot more likely, no scratch that, completely outnumber their NFL counterparts that they cheer for on Sundays, when it comes to racking up domestic violence charges.
As a whole, society at-large is a lot worse than any NFL player in the locker room or on the practice squad. And not just in assaults. NFL players are ‘nice guys’ compared to male peers their age in ‘regular jobs.’ See below.
Graph is property of: BENJAMIN MORRIS @SKEPTICALSPORTS
BENJAMIN MORRIS @skepticalsports http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-rate-of-domestic-violence-arrests-among-nfl-players/
Now that we’re clear about just what the problem IS , we must next ask; ‘How do WE fix it? According to Angie Boss, an award-winning health writer, “the only form of treatment that research currently supports are Batterer Intervention Programs, or BIPS. BIPS attempt to address all levels of violence including verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and physical abuse.
A six month long series of classes taught by licensed facilitators, BIP classes present physical violence not as isolated, incidental behavior. Instead, physical violence is the culmination of many abusive behaviors, or tactics to gain power and control over another person.
Terry Moore, Program Director for Nonviolent Alternatives, a Batterers Intervention Program in Indianapolis, IN explains, “We believe our clients are inherently kind, loving people who want happy, healthy lives and loving relationships but are unaware of how to accomplish this goal.
They were trained and learned at an early age to use abusive behavior toward themselves and/or toward others, as methods of survival, or coping skills to deal with fear and pain. Over time these behaviors, and the belief systems that foster them, become subconscious habits.”
“Punishment and jail time alone will not relieve the need for our program,” says Moore. “When an abuser encounters only legal consequences for his/her behavior, and their “shifting the blame” belief system, goes unchallenged, they will simply view their self as a victim of an unjust system and will carry these abusive patterns to future relationships.”
So stop pointing at the athletes. Especially young, male, black athletes. Chances are the person next door is more likely to be the guilty party.
Are you or is someone you know in a violent relationship and needs help? Then go here: http://www.thehotline.org/ or CALL 1-800-799-7233