American Football is probably the most popular sport in the US today. Its ritualized violence as spectacles attracts millions of people to watch the games on TV and on the fields. Its entire apparatus as industry generates billions of dollars from its owners to TV stations that broadcast the games. For this reason, the players who actually participate in this violent sport are valued highly as long as they are current players. Some of these players occasionally get into legal troubles involving minor violence but people seem to shrug off such a behavior for one reason and another. One of the most violent criminal acts these players get caught in is domestic violence, violence against women, such as girlfriends and wives. Currently, NFL is burdened with three domestic violence cases involving professional football players. One of these cases, involving Roy Rice of the Ravens stirred up controversy due to the newly surfaced video recording of Roy Rice’s brutish assault of his then fiancée Janey (now Mrs. Rice) in the elevator of a casino resort hotel. In fact, the case dominated September 9th’s news programs. Every talking head as well as people interviewed condemned Rice’s behavior as disgusting and terrible, including another football player who had been prosecuted for domestic violence himself.
This makes one question if American Football is inherently violent and thus its players are also violent. It does not seem the case since statistically the rate of these football players to get involved in criminal acts is far smaller than the entire US population of the same age group. Then, why are they so visible in domestic violence cases? I remember a research from several years ago that reported that the domestic violence incidents shoot up 8% more than the regular times after the home-team loses the game. Although it may be simplistic to conclude from such evidence that American Football is somehow connected to domestic violence, it nevertheless seems the case. Domestic violence is violence against people who are close to the person who commits such violence. That seems to mean the perpetrators project their anger and frustration onto the people who are conveniently close to them physically. Or, it may mean that the perpetrators use violence to control those close to them. Or, perhaps the violence is a habitual mode of behavior conditioned in the perpetrators’ practice of life and career. Probably there are many more reasons for domestic violence to occur. Thus, it may be difficult to eliminate all the root causes of domestic violence cases. But, it’s also unlikely that great many people will throw away American Football as their favorite pastime any time soon. Then, NFL should take care of the welfare of its players as well as their family members by educating them regarding the danger of domestic violence as well as methods to avoid it, such as moving away from the situation as soon as danger signs are recognized.