Domestic violence is not a spectator sport
By Christopher Lampley
The lives of professional athletes are put on display on a daily basis. From what they eat in the morning, to what they do before they go to sleep is broadcasted heavily to the public.
As fans and critics, people have praised and judged these athletes for their actions on and off the field, court or diamond. With the growing popularity of certain athletes to the public’s likeness, there is an even bigger issue at hand: domestic violence.
With a problem that has faced almost every aspect of age, gender and tax bracket, domestic violence crimes committed by professional and amateur (college) athletes is becoming a commonality in the world we live in today.
What could possibly trigger an athlete to act in such a manner? Is the aggression and tenacity from the playing field or court being carried over into their personal lives?
Since the year 2000, via USA Today, there have been more than 180 domestic violence cases filed against professional athletes. More than 100 of those cases have been filed against players in the National Football League (NFL).
“I believe that these actions are all based on impulse… it’s kind of clear that athletes who get in those types of situations allow their emotions to get the best of them,” Javontee Herndon said. Herndon, a receiver for the San Diego Chargers, believes that domestic violence is a problem that has an easy solution. “Thinking before you react can keep you out of a lot of trouble.”
How and why do things go from bad to worse for many athletes that are accused of domestic violence? The answer: social media.
It takes more than just an act of “he-say-she-say” to get an athlete in hot water. Society seeks the need for visual proof.
It wasn’t until the Ray Rice case earlier this year that the war on domestic violence took an unforgettable turn. The outrage against Rice was at an all-time high once the video surfaced of Rice dragging his then fiancée’s body from an elevator in the Revel Casino in Atlantic City.
Before the video of Rice was released, the case was a simple assault charge and was explained as a “minor physical altercation” (via SBnation.com). After the video was released by TMZ, there was an outcry for the instant removal of Ray Rice from all things NFL related.
“Plenty of domestic violence claims have been made and a lot of high profile athletes have been accused… video and picture evidence released to the public, in these situations, always make things worse,” Christopher Bentley said. Bentley, a soldier in the United States Navy, said that social media plays an important role in how people treat certain situations.
“I know Rice had to regret what he did, but social media played the biggest role into how his situation was handled,” Bentley added.
The question at hand is: is public outcry, via social media, a probable solution to the end of domestic violence?