The St. Valentine’s Day massacre of Ray Rice cold-cocking his then-fiancée in a Jersey casino elevator finally set off a firestorm that must continue to burn.
When trash-talking TMZ exposed the tape that everyone knew Goodell and Company viewed back in February, we all finally saw what domestic violence looks like prior to a black eye covered up by Cover Girl and a turtleneck hiding finger marks from being lifted feet-off-the-floor prior to being hurled across the room by husbands and lovers, linebackers and defensive ends.
Since the Rice incident, more reports of physical violence have been reported in record numbers. The National Domestic Hotline’s landing page now alerts those brave enough to take the first step that due to an increase in call volume and web traffic, there might be a delay in their response to the victim on the other end of the computer or the phone. Domestic Hotline CEO Katie Ray-Jones states there’s been an 84% spike in calls since the video went public. Still, she says, tens of thousands of calls go unanswered due to a lack of sufficient staff. The NFL has pledged a multiyear, multimillion-dollar pledge.
The NFL and the NFL Players Association are beefing up their ranks with a former FBI director, a former Federal prosecutor, female advisors and most recently, Dawn Hudson as the NFL’s Chief Marketing Officer. Hudson spent the last five years at a consulting group and 11 years at one of the NFL’s biggest advertisers, PepsiCo - including a final stint as North American President and CEO.
Her official quote in NFL’s press release announcing her appointment stated, "I am excited to join the NFL where I will be able to combine two of my passions -- sports and marketing,” ... “Sports have always played a big role in my life and in my career. While at Pepsi, I worked with numerous sports properties, including the NFL, and I also served as a LGPA board member." End quote.
With zero reference as to how Hudson might pick up the ball and run towards that Super Bowl “Get It Right” goal promised by the Park Avenue Pimp, the league took their press release, injected their uppity egos and didn't bother to hide the fact that the Hudson hiring simply put lipstick on the pig. Regardless, they’re still wallowing around in the mud.
We want to assume that in the NFL’s bum rush to place a smart girl in their CMO position, an intern was assigned to bang out a quote for the press release and in their haste, forgot to ask Hudson for her input or approval. We fear it won’t be the last time they’ll forget to ask her what she thinks.
A six-game suspension for a first offense is offensive. Until the league remembers they are the NFL and not the WWE and takes a zero-tolerance stance, these buildings with legs and no hearts will get a second chance to possibly finish off what they didn’t do the first time around.
This most likely was not the first, nor will it be the last time Rice’s now-wife Janay Palmer will feel the force of Rice’s fist. She continues to be the victim of Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti’s non-stop arrogance and ignorance in defending himself (and previously his then-high-priced running back) and we can only hope that eventually someone will mercifully wire Bisciotti’s jaw shut.
The sad statistic is most victims of domestic violence stay silent because they feel they deserve the abuse. They put themselves, their children and their pets in the line of fire, believing “it won’t happen again.”
When she had the chance to walk away, Janay stayed and then married this monster, possibly hoping for a changed man and a life of luxury as the wife of an NFL player with a multi-million dollar salary.
Did she fear jeopardizing his livelihood was worth jeopardizing her life?
Perhaps this is what “beating her senseless” truly means.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Jane Hoffman has created successful communications and marketing strategies, produced live events and established effective community relations programs for a diverse range of clients and initiatives as both an independent and in-house specialist for decades.
She became a football fan the year Joe Namath led the Jets to Super Bowl victory, still can't believe the Patriots won three NFL championships and is presently watching hesitantly from the sidelines.
(JH notes: This guest post appeared in Mediabistro on October 3, 2014 before the Pats won their fourth NFL championship. The opinions were mine alone and do not/did not in any way reflect or represent the policies or opinions of any of my clients.)