What Were They Thinking?

“To paraphrase several sages: Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.”  ~ Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others

We started last week with domestic violence in the NFL, hit mid-stride with racism in the NBA and ended the week with child abuse in the NFL.  Contemplating these headlines over the weekend, several random thoughts came to mind in no particular order:

  • The NFL has a domestic violence problem that it is not handling well because it is putting profits over people and women and children aren’t important policy issues.
  • America has a domestic violence problem that it is not handling because it often puts profits over people and for sure, women and children aren’t important policy issues.
  • Ray Rice was dead wrong but shouldn’t be permanently banned from football.  He should be held accountable with required treatment and “probation” covering future incidents.
  • Ditto for Greg Hardy and Ray McDonald and any others that surface in the future.
  • Society needs to stop “victim shaming” by dragging Janay Rice through the mud for staying and marrying him.
  • Society needs to do more “perpetrator shaming” by outing abusive men and holding them accountable for their actions.
  • Federal Judge Mark Fuller should be permanently removed from the bench.  Federal judges have the ability to significantly impact people’s lives permanently.  He cannot be trusted with matters of justice – civil or criminal – when he himself is a criminal.  Removing him from the bench will take an act of Congress.  Literally.  He has to be impeached.  So I’m not holding my breath for that one.
  • The NFL has been schizophrenic in its handling of domestic violence among its players.
  • Society has been schizophrenic in its handling of domestic violence among is residents.
  • Adrian Peters deserves criminal prosecution for beating his 4 year old like that.  It was abuse.  Period.  No excuses.  No ifs ands or butts.  He should be held accountable for his actions.  But he shouldn’t be permanently banned from the league either.  Suspended indefinitely pending completion of domestic violence/child abuse counseling, parenting classes and mental health counseling…yes.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is notably being vewy, vewy quiet.  And he should.
  • I don’t care if your mama beat you when you were a kid and it was good for you because you would be dead or in prison if she hadn’t.  If she left lacerations, welps, scars and blood, then she abused you.  You may forgive her now as an adult, but you should NOT beat your own children.  Children need to be DISCIPLINED (and sometimes that may mean a spanking) but not ABUSED.  There is a difference, and it is not a fine line.
  • Danny Ferry’s leave and sensitivity training are the right thing.  I don’t think he should be fired for his comments–this time.   I’m all about accountability.
  • Mark Levenson outed himself and as the owner/leader of the team, I think he did right to step down.  Personally, I think it was a ploy to create controversy in order to draw potential buyers to the team because he wants out.  Some of have said that his comments were purely commentary about marketing strategies.  Yeah. Right.  Those marketing strategies sound eerily reminiscent of another marketing strategy: “We’re not racist, but we can’t sell our home to you because white people don’t want to live in neighborhoods with black people so if we sell to you, then our property values will go down.”  Marketing strategy my arse.
  • Roger Goodell has to go.  For so many reasons.  It’s easy to manage an organization when things are going well and whatever isn’t going well you just sweep under the carpet and ignore it and your customers (fans) love you.  Just keep making the owners “mo money, mo money, mo money” and keep pocketing your own $44mm annual salary (FORTY FOUR MILLION DOLLARS!).  But it takes real leadership to lead with integrity and proactively acknowledge and address the problems in your organization and come with a plan (a real plan) to address the issues in order not to hurt the brand or your loyal customers/fans AND to support your employees.  LEAD PROACTIVELY WITH INTEGRITY.  Roger has to go.