When leaders turn a blind eye victims suffer in silence


Wesley Ihezue

Wesley Ihezue / The Inquirer

Editorial Board

We’ve all heard of money and greed overshadowing justice in the realms of politics and economics.

But not many of us are aware or even come face to face with the kind of profit mongering that is involved in the world of professional sports.

Athletes, like celebrities, are revered by media and fans. The consequence of such idolization results in a society where things like domestic violence and sexual abuse go unnoticed, unmentioned and above all unpunished.

The recent cases of Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Ray McDonald, all NFL players, are a blunt reminder of how the greedy leadership of the sports world are willing to lie and deceive the public and simply ignore any issues and wrongdoing that would arise from players misbehaving.

Rice, Peterson and McDonald are not isolated incidences. Too many have, in the past, committed acts of sexual abuse against women or have been charged with child or spousal abuse without facing hard consequences from their employers.

A report published by USA Today highlighted the disparity on how 85 of the 713 charges against NFL players brought by police were domestic violence.

Not only is the media lagging in the reporting of star players and their misbehaviors, but industry commissioners are significantly turning a blind eye towards these issues.

The average person, when arrested on a first time offense of domestic violence, may be subjected to trial and face jail and probation time.

Athletes have not been held adequately accountable to the charges against them in cases of violence, until recently.

There are rules in sports which punish players for unsportsmanlike conduct on the field, meaning when a player gets too rough, there are penalties.

The same, however, does not seem to apply when a 200 lb. running back knocks out his petite fiancee in an elevator; especially when two separate videos of the incidence were brought to the attention of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Hope Solo threatened her young nephew and was charged with domestic violence — but those charges were dropped completely, because she is a great contributor to the world of women’s soccer.

The not so surprising factor in all this came out to be where the women (victims) were being scrutinized for either provoking the violence against them or continuing their relationship with their abuser.

According to a contributing article published in Mother Jones by Tracy Treu, the wife of Raider center Adam Treu: “I’m so fed up by people blaming Janay Rice. We’re asking for incredible bravery, and we’re giving little compassion to this woman. Because it’s so easy to say ‘Well, she’s the fool who married him. Why doesn’t she just leave?’ There are just so many components to it that people aren’t aware of.”

These incidences in the sports community have moved sponsors like Anheuser-Busch, a brewing company, to threaten the removal of their endorsement of the NFL if they don’t get their act together. Various other sponsors, media outlets and fans have finally screamed loud enough for the industry to start implementing new rules of engagement and harsher punishment for players.

The world of sports has one prime motto: to win at all cost. That win should not come at the expense of innocent victims who end up paying the heavy price of silence and servitude.

As a society, we should be very conscious of the pedestal we place our celebrities and athletes on. Instead of blaming the victims, we can very well voice our concerns to the media and the sports industry to implement real-life consequences.