The NFL Clusterf*ck: Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Abuse

Warning: the following post contains disturbing images and video.

 

Can you tell another human being how to live their life? Do you have the right? What makes a good person and a bad person?

For the past few weeks, the NFL (National Football League) has made headlines. Regrettably, football has not been involved. First came the Ray Rice scandal. For those of you who do not know, Baltimore Ravens receiver Ray Rice entered an elevator with his then-fiancé (they are now married), Janay. Then, this happened:

No charges were filed and the NFL suspended Rice for two games. Then, that video was released and Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL. Rice has recently appealed his suspension, and his wife Janay continues to insist that the media has blown the entire thing out of proportion.

rice-instagram
Actual Instagram response from Rice’s wife.

Due to their reluctant and forced handling of the issue, the NFL became swamped in scandal, with many feeling that Commissioner Roger Goodell must resign for his involvement in attempting to swipe what happened under the rug. For the record: the Ray Rice scandal was not the only one going on at this point, simply the one involving the most famous player. For a few weeks, Rice was the name on everyone’s lips in regards to the NFL.

Then Adrian Peterson happened.

Peterson was arrested and charged for beating his four year old son with a tree branch. Peterson also allegedly stuffed leaves into the child’s mouth to prevent him from screaming. Below are the photos taken ONE WEEK after the beating took place (I do not have to say ‘alleged’ as Peterson has already admitted to doing it).

abuseToday, Peterson as been activated by the Minnesota Vikings. He is expected to fully participate and play, while receiving his complete salary.

 

I felt I could not say any of that while being my usual smug, cheeky self. Again, I will mention that these are not the only two problem players in the NFL. These scandals have raised a lot of questions. Many have to do with morality and social responsibility.

“Don’t tell me how to live my life!”

This is a philosophy that many individuals in “free” countries adhere to. Indeed, what is the point of freedom without the ability to choose what kind of life to lead? If we are to go by the words and opinions of Janay and Ray Rice, than the world (through the media) has intruded on their privacy and their right to live. To hear Janay speak, theirs is a complicated love that only they can understand, and the rest of the world is rushing to ruin what a good thing they have.

Adrian Peterson is trying to discipline his child. At least that’s what people like Charles Barkley and many others think. Don’t tell him how to raise his kid. Don’t tell Ray and Janay how to live their lives.

Okay.

I had one professor in my time at University who was brilliant. He gave me an essential lesson that I will not forget and that I believe applies here: Some opinions are wrong. Is everyone entitled to a point of view – absolutely. Is that point of view immediately valid and equal to all others – not a chance in hell. In this era of understanding, I feel that society is in danger of losing a crucial truth. Sometimes people are full of sh*t.

There is NO defense for people like Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson. I am not saying they are monsters, but I am saying that they each committed a crime that is indefensible. In what scenario is it okay for an NFL athlete to strike an unarmed woman? Or for a father to brutally beat his child with a tree branch? There is none. The discussion ends there. For any saying, “it is a cultural difference, or they probably learned it from their parents”. Please listen to Cris Carter below:

He is absolutely right. Never once in history has “well that’s how it used to be done” been a valid reason to prevent enlightenment. Progress means change and it means growth and we have overall grown as a society. Any individuals out there who use their upbringing as an excuse for their actions – that is the immature response of a child. We live in an age with actual unlimited access to education. It is called the internet and its greatest power is its ability to collect and pool all human knowledge. Does it pool other crap, sure – but the fact remains.

No one forced Rice or Peterson to behave that way. They made the decision, the decision to continue vicious cycles that probably began much earlier in their lives. That decision was wrong, and both of them were wrong for doing it. Their athletic ability should not and does not matter. Ray Rice is a miserable excuse for a partner and Adrian Peterson has a hell of a lot to learn about being a father.

As for Janay, it is a tragic truth that many abuse victims justify their mistreatment. She is wrong as well. Her opinion and view of her relationship come off as nothing more than a horrible fantasy that the rest of the world recognizes for the farce it is.

People have the right to ruin their own lives. That right ends the moment another person becomes involved. Adrian Peterson didn’t hurt himself – he savagely beat a four year old boy. Ray Rice punched his wife in the face. I sincerely hope that that relationship does not create children.

People have the right to ruin their own lives, until another person becomes involved. Fun fact about society is that everyone is interconnected. No one has the right to waste a life because it always matters to someone else. Actions like these are not defensible. This is not a debate on morality. The human race is sadly gifted at self-justification.

No one likes being blamed and everyone out there can come up with an excuse for practically anything. As a species, we have been able to justify such atrocities as slavery, the Holocaust, and repressing human rights. People do not want to be labeled as “bad people.” The horrible truth is that bad people do not exist. Neither do good people. There are just people, and people have the choice to do what they will. In their mind, that action will always be good (if not immediately than after much rationalization and self-justification).

But this is the 21st century. People need to grow up and be held accountable for their actions. Not every scenario has two valid sides. Abuse is wrong. Period.

Let’s hope the NFL does not let profits stand in the way of humanity. Actually no, let’s not hope for that. Let’s hold people responsible for their actions. Let’s stop rationalizing and take a stand. We’re human beings – let’s act like it.

"I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser. I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury." That's his mugshot, by the way.
“I am not a perfect son. I am not a perfect husband. I am not a perfect parent, but I am, without a doubt, not a child abuser. I am someone that disciplined his child and did not intend to cause him any injury.”
That’s his mugshot, by the way.

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