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    Posted July 25, 2014 by
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    NFL Off-Field Violence

    An NFL running back pleaded no contest to a charge of assault with bodily injury with family violence during an NFL off season period. He eventually received a 1 game suspension and a fine for one additional game check as his penalty from the NFL. This was his fourth arrest in 3 years and he allegedly instigated the confrontation, yet there was little media or public outrage or condemnation at the scope of his punishment despite photos released on the internet showing his victims swollen and bloody face sustained in the assault.

    Another NFL running back pleaded not guilty to a third-degree charge of aggravated assault (on a family member) and avoided trial by being accepted into a pretrial intervention program during an NFL off season period. He eventually received a 2 game suspension and a fine for one additional game check as his penalty from the NFL. Even though this player had no previous criminal record, his assault charge was allegedly the result of self defense, and the victim of his assault suffered much less damaging injuries, the media and public have blasted the NFL for what they perceive as the player getting off easy.

    The first player is Cedric Benson, and the second player is Ray Rice. While receiving a stronger penalty from the NFL than a similar recent assault suspension recipient, Rice's suspension has been called out as too light because his assault involved a woman (who was also arrested on an assault charge as a result of the incident). What surprises me is that these objections only surfaced in Rice's case in order to push a women's rights and equality agenda.

    Let me be clear here: violence against any human being is unacceptable and anyone who is violent must be held accountable for their actions. There seems to be an inconsistency here however in the realm of women's equality that I feel compelled to point out. The fight for women being equal means that women must be treated equally in every way. You either believe that or you don't. Women being treated as equals where it suits someone's purpose and differently when that person's purposes change means inequality.

    The subject of violence involving women as the aggressor or as the victim is clearly one of the areas we need to resolve. In order to claim true equality, assault cases must be viewed as gender neutral conflicts. Viewing cases of assault as the majority of people do today requires the assertion that women are not the equals of men simply because of their gender.

    In both of the outlined assault cases, the NFL player was clearly the larger and stronger participant in the incident, yet because in one case the smaller victim was female the media and public are outraged while reacting to the male on male crime with indifference. It didn't matter that the Benson assault was clearly the more aggressive. It didn't matter that the Rice assault was initiated by his fiance (and his fiance agreed to that chain of events). It didn't matter that Rice received a longer suspension than Benson. According to the media and the majority of the public, Rice supposedly got off easy.

    Maybe they both got off easy. Maybe they both got exactly what they deserved. If we are truly ready to embrace absolute equality for all people it is clear that we should be equally outraged by any acts of violence and respond equally.
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