Meltdown at Midfield

I’m not sure if many Planet Waves readers are sports enthusiasts like I am, but I confess that yes, I am a baseball- and football-loving nut from the Central Coast of California. That is hardwired into my system.

I am also a writer on culture and women’s issues. The affinity for such disparate interests as sports, art, women’s issues and popular culture has always co-existed comfortably inside me, and I drew upon those wide personal preferences to self-identify as a woman comfortable and conversant in non gender-stereotypical issues and interests.

But now we live in a world where the Internet exposes humanity’s dark side on a by-the-minute basis, and the videotape of former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice and his wife Janay in the elevator where he beat her unconscious has changed the game. I can’t bring myself to watch it anymore. The tape replay or football in general.

Initially, there were two sides of this story playing out in the court of public opinion: one that cavalierly dismissed the incident, calling the Rices’ altercation a domestic squabble and responding with “nothing-more-to-see-here, let’s-move-on”; in the other, Ray Rice is an abuser whom the NFL aided and abetted by covering up the story. As the story unfolded this month, we found that the NFL lied about knowing what they knew, and lied when regarding the brutality of the Rices’ elevator altercation. The NFL was sitting on the tape for six months and did nothing until that tape was released by TMZ.

It is that story that now has center stage, and the NFL is in crisis-control mode, scrambling for answers in an attempt to save the NFL brand, and maybe doing more than a little soul searching. In the world where Ray, Janay and most of America exists, the intense scrutiny the NFL is now under is miraculous in that it’s happening at all.

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