Scoot: NFL is wrong to treat pot more harshly than violence?
Which do you think is a more serious offense: smoking pot or hitting a woman?
The NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games after he was arrested for allegedly knocking his then-fiancee Janay Palmer unconscious during an altercation at a hotel in Atlantic City. Video shows Rice pulling his unconscious fiancée’s body from the elevator.
Interestingly, the NFL suspended Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon for the season after he tested positive for marijuana during the offseason. And Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon was arrested Wednesday night in Oklahoma for marijuana possession and a driving violation, and faces indefinite suspension by the NFL because it was his third offense.
Does this mean the NFL regards smoking pot as a more serious offense than hitting a woman?
Social media reaction reflected outrage at the different penalties. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith fanned the flames when he said that abusing women is wrong, but women need to be aware of the things that provoke men.
Michelle Beadle, a female ESPN host tweeted that Smith’s statement is equal to a rapist claiming a woman asked to be raped for wearing provocative clothing.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said that Ray Rice is “a heck of a guy” and he made a mistake and has “done everything right since.” Harbaugh said that he would also have to pay a consequence for his mistake.
Whether it is justified or not – professional athletes have an image of being overly macho and prone to mistreat women. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all professional athletes, but the image had been formed by numerous cases of abuse over the years.
With marijuana being decriminalized and legalized in America, it does seem that the NFL is making a statement that pot smoking is more serious than domestic violence. Even though it was a second offense for Gordon and a third offense for Blackmon, many fans are condemning the NFL for treating a marijuana offense more seriously than an abuse charge.
Another interesting aspect of the story is that Rice’s then-fiancee is now his wife. Janay Palmer married Rice, in spite of apparently being knocked unconscious by her man.
We are all surprised to hear stories about women who are the victims of abuse “standing by their man.” What happens in the context of a relationship is determined by how the two people react to each other, and not everyone understands when someone is forgiven for their negative behavior.
I don’t think there is ever a legitimate excuse for a man – especially a professional athlete – to hit a woman. People do make mistakes, and if a definite change of behavior results from a mistake – then is it wrong to forgive?
The NFL was wrong to impose a tougher sentence for smoking pot than for hitting a woman.