HuffPost Women blogger Carol Bysiek published an open letter to the NFL on Thursday.
The letter, entitled “To the NFL: Not on My Turf” described Bysiek’s disgust and frustration at the NFL’s profuse displays of pink during October games in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month.
A breast cancer survivor herself, and an avid football fan, Bysiek lamented the emptiness of the think-pink gesture.
She wondered how we can be expected to applaud the league for this display of support for women when shocking evidence to the contrary has so recently come to light.
I had the same reaction.
Turning on the television and seeing the NFL logo emblazoned proudly over a pink breast cancer awareness ribbon felt like a pageant, full of cheap bravado, motivated by desperation to return to the good graces of women across the ?nation.
I’m glad the NFL wants to raise awareness about breast cancer, but how can a woman expect to fight off a deadly disease if she’s also fighting off her husband or partner?
The double standard is nothing short of exhausting, frustrating and ?disheartening.
Just when it seems the domestic violence scandals have started to effect real change, our screens are dripping pink reminders that the NFL cares about women. Or, at least, its female viewers.
It was in this antagonistic spirit that I began to do research, fully intending to find further evidence to support a vehement disapprobation of the league.
Imagine my surprise when I uncovered the story that no one seems to be telling: the NFL is actually far less violent than the rest of the nation.
In fact, a study published in July by FiveThirtyEight’s DataLab shows that members of the NFL fall far behind the national average, not only for domestic violence, but in every single one of the 13 assessed ?categories.
This means we need to shine our light of scrutiny outward.
Don’t get me wrong. There are many other reasons to criticize the NFL.
Everything about football endorses the ancient gender construct that men are physically superior champions of athletic prowess and women are pretty entertainment on the sidelines only worth noting when the guys aren’t doing anything on the turf.
But, as per usual, the truth resists simplicity. It is not just the NFL that has a major domestic violence problem — it’s the whole country.
Rather than choosing celebrities as scapegoats, we must recognize that the issue is, literally, at home.
The tough truth is the chance the guy on your block is abusing his family is higher than the chance Ray Rice was.
While the NFL attends to the skeletons in its closet — and it had better attend to them quickly if they’d like me to start appreciating those pink socks again — we need to start conversations with our children, family and friends about violence that occurs between genders and within the home because, yes, it’s happening on our turf, too.