Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A matter of blinders

So Janay Rice is standing by her man, blaming mainly the perennial leader in the clubhouse, the media, for stirring up the pot again just when it seemed that whole domestic violence thing between her and her hubby was going to, you know, just go away.

And now comes boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr., saying the NFL's being too hard on Rice in the wake of the videotape of him cold-cocking Janay in that elevator, saying the pale two-game suspension originally handed down was probably enough.

And now comes a myriad of others, saying the NFL shouldn't be changing its rules in mid-stream just because of a video it probably knew was out there, but swears it didn't.

And you wonder why domestic violence is such a pervasive problem in this country?

We can debate how much Janay Rice's lashing out was about the loss of a chunky livelihood, but it also had a familiar feel for those who deal with domestic abuse every day and know its patterns. One can only hope, for her sake and the Rices' marriage, that there won't be a repeat of what happened in that elevator. But the numbers paint a less hopeful scenario.

And so the prevailing sentiment over her public statement was a profound pity, because it smacked so strongly of denial to those who've heard it all before. And in Mayweather's case ... well, they've heard that, too, the reflexive defense of a man too loose with his fists, all the more predictable because it came from a man who, ahem, pled guilty to domestic abuse charges himself after going after a former girlfriend while their children looked on.

And who, surprise, surprise, maintains his innocence to this day.

Denial upon denial: It's the preferred working medium for domestic violence, because it's denial that sustains and nurtures it. You could even see it in the response of the NFL, now playing a cynical game of catchup because it didn't really want to confront the issue, or at least take it seriously, until that latest video clip forced its hand.

The league's credibility lies in tatters now. Which is how Janay Rice could sound half-credible to some when she blamed the media. And how some in the intertoobz-sphere could say it was double jeopardy for the NFL to ban Rice. And how Mayweather could join that chorus despite his own obvious bias on this subject.

Denial gave it all cover. And there's no denying that. 

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