By: Joe “Cartright” Cardoso
Not a day goes by without us SPORTS fans hearing about a case of domestic violence. I swore when I began NBS that I would stick to on-the-field topics only, and nothing else. Well, some things are too important, and too in-your-face to ignore. They spread across every sport, race, and gender. Has it always been this way? Are we just noticing it now because of social media? What, if anything, should athletes do to help the issue?
The main focus of my article was to find out how the largest growing fan base, the female sports fan, feels about this issue that we, as a society, are grappling with every day, so I asked a group of friends and family who enjoy sports, how this trend makes them feel.
I had three questions:
- When a player is accused of domestic violence, how do you feel about the player/team in the aftermath?
- Are You able to still cheer/support him/her?
- Do you think the player should be allowed to continue playing?
The answers I received were eye-opening. Honestly, I was a bit surprised at how open-minded these ladies are. I went into this assuming they would bash all men, and wanted to see the player thrown in a hole forever. Instead, the ladies who helped with this had a ton of great things to say. Here are some of the highlights, and thought provoking responses received:
Is she right? The leagues do, in my opinion, sweep what they can under the rug. Yet when a story and it blows up via social media, they get the hammer, and damage control takes over at the highest levels.
Can athletes help it?
Should players who have been brought up in this type of environment be looked at differently? We always coach up the star athlete who isn’t so great in school, don’t we? Maybe teams offer professional help for players to open up about issues to prevent things from escalating. One thing was clear in my research: getting help and admitting there is an issue is important. Not just to the league and teams, but to fans as well. Treatment was the one thing all the women agreed on, and of course, sincere apology.
An issue I see is that organizations wait too long to react, or try to come up with some half-ass way of getting the player back on the field ASAP, especially when he is a star.
I say screw that. Sit them down early, and depending on the action, sit them down for a while. Set a moral example.
And if the player is convicted, could you still cheer for them? Does it change how you feel about them or the team? The Ray Rice video for me was jarring and remained indelible in my mind for weeks.
“Not a fan of wife beaters or cheaters. Be a man and carry yourself like one.”
Do we give male athletes special treatment over women? Hope Solo was accused of attacking a family member and was suspended for a few games. USA Soccer said they would wait until after the World Cup to handle the issue. Is that a gender issue? Or just the classic case of “you are a great player so we will keep this under wraps until after the big game?”
What I learned from researching and writing this article is that the issue of domestic violence is REAL and also HUGE in America. We need to do what we can to stop it early. Can it be stopped 100%? Of course not. But education, along with not letting bogus claims from money-hungry people will go a long way in the the way we, as a society, deal with this travesty moving forward. I also learned that the female sports fan is not who most males think she is. She’s not the feminist donning a jersey. She knows the game, and has an educated opinion.
I would like to thank all those who helped me with this post when I started two weeks ago.
The bottom line is this: it’s up to the individual to step up and control their emotions. All these cases do is bring the wrong kind of attention to sports, and take away from all the great things these amazing athletes do on and OFF the field.
I support NOMORE.org. And I always will.