Thursday, August 23, 2007

more on women and dogs: the clueless need to get a clue

Sara Whitman: Michael Vick: You Should Have Been Beating Women Instead - Living Now on The Huffington Post

her column is, granted, a little loose and baggy. the sports writers i've read on the same issue had a much sharper way of making their point. i also think her comment about race distracted her readers - clearly, they didn't get what she was saying at all. (it's not about the action itself, it's about the reaction in the media! two separate things!) once you imply there's a racial double standard, folks are either going to agree with you (rare) or they're going to reel back in denial that such a thing, and their participation in it, could ever exist.

anyway, her commenters are interesting. they remind me of the creepy guys who work really hard to define exactly what rape is so they'll know what to do the next time some girl gets drunk at a party. ("is it rape if she's totally drunk but we were flirting earlier and i know she would have wanted to do it even though i never actually heard her say the words? what about if she's ... blah blah blah rape apologist rape apologist")

i did a few hours research yesterday at work (because i think i'm going to write about it in our next newsletter) and it was stunning what i found; in most cases charges had been dropped, dismissed or, in the rare case a conviction was ever made, the athlete usually got a slap on the wrist. a fine, a paid suspension, a few hours community service. if ever someone was actually fired or dropped from a team it was because he was on his way to prison, or the assault was so bad it was undeniable and was going to be a PR nightmare. in other words, the franchise couldn't ignore it anymore.

(or their attempt to smear the victim failed.)

here are notes on a sampling of what i found (and the more you dig, the more of a chain of out of control male behavior you uncover. totally reprehensible.) questions in brackets are details i didn't have time to confirm, yet:

Carolina wide receiver Rae Carruth conspired to murder his pregnant girlfriend. Nonetheless, a jury found him guilty in 2001, and he's serving a 19- to 23-year prison term.
February 2007 - Pacman Jones - Tennessee Titans was involved in an incident at a Las Vegas strip club that led to the shooting of three people, including a guard who is now paralyzed from the waist down. [suspended for 2007 season; must reapply for reinstatement]
mid-1990s - Lawrence Phillips - Nebraska college football star pleaded no contest to trespassing and assault after allegedly beating his girlfriend, who said he dragged her by her hair down three flights of stairs. 2005 - wanted in connection with two alleged domestic abuse incidents in san diego and one other domestic abuse incident in los angeles; [suspended from nebraska college team; went on to play for rams, dolphins, 49ers, european and canadian football teams until 2003; guilty in 2006 of assault with deadly weapon ]
2003 - Kobe Bryant - (nba) LA Lakers - accused and arrested for sexual assault; charges dropped when accuser refused to testify; matter settled out of court
1999 - Bobby Chouinard - (mlb) Arizona Diamondbacks - hit his wife and held a loaded gun to her head and served a one-year sentence — but in three-month increments during off-seasons. [now with Colorado Rockies]
2006 - Brett Myers - (mlb) Phillies allegedly dragged his wife around by the hair on a Boston street in front of witnesses. He still pitched the next day at Fenway Park, and was later granted a paid leave of absence. [wife dropped charges]
2004 - Michael Pittman - Bucs - was indicted three years ago on two counts of aggravated assault for intentionally ramming his Hummer into a car carrying his wife and 2-year-old son. It was the fourth time Pittman had been arrested on domestic-abuse charges, but his wife, Melissa, told police there were 30 or 40 others that she never reported. Pittman got a three-game suspension.
mid-90s, Christian Peter - Nebraska, then an All-Big Eight defensive tackle, arrested eight times at Nebraska, where he was twice accused of brutal rape — charges resulting in one out-of-court settlement and another conviction for sexual assault. Patriots gave up draft rights to Peter, but he would eventually play for three NFL teams.
Summer 2007 - Former Seahawk Chad Eaton was arrested for investigation of domestic violence.

2007 - Lionel Gates - Tampa Bay - placed in a pre-trial intervention program and ordered to take anger-mgmt courses after being arrested for an altercation with a pregnant woman in March
1996 - Lamar Thomas - Tampa Bay - rammed pregnant fiancee's head through a window; later released from team
May 2007 - AJ Nicholson - Bengals - arrested on domestic violence charges; suspended from FSU while accused of sexual assault
2005 - Brad Hopkins - Tennessee Titans - arrested and charged with domestic assault for allegedly choking his wife
2005 - Samari Rolle - Tennessee Titans - wife needed stitches above her eye; released from Titans, re-signed with Ravens
2001 - Jason Kidd - (NBA) NJ Nets - guilty of spousal abuse; no punishment
2007 - Ron Artest - (nba) Sacramento Kings - fighting in the stands and arrested for domestic assault in March; received a 2-game suspension and $600 fine
2006 - Bretty Myers - (mlb) Phillies - assaulted wife on street and charged with assault and battery; 'off-field' incident not punished by MLB
2005 - Reuben Droughns - Cleveland Browns - arrested for domestic violence (3rd degree assault and harassment); [charges dropped; currently playing for NY Giants]
2006 - Santonio Holmes - Steelers - arrested for domestic violence and assault; judge dismissed charges
2006 - Markus Curry - Chargers - domestic assault [dropped by team]; 2002 - while at UM, pleaded guilty of assault on girlfriend
2006? - Rob Reynolds - Titans - domestic violence, charges reduced and pled guilty to misdemeanor; suspended for one game?
2006 - Randy Starks - Titans - domestic violence [punishment by league?]
2006 - Sean Locklear - Seattle Seahawks - alleged assault on girlfriend (grabbed around her neck); [result?; punishment by league?]
2007 - Brandon Marshall - Broncos - arrested for false imprisonment and domestic violence
2000 - Patrick Roy - (nhl) Colorado Avalanche - domestic violence [result?; punishment by league?]
2007 - Elijah Dukes - (mlb) Tampa Bay Devils - violating domestic violence injunction
1986 - Darryl Strawberry - (mlb) NY Mets - domestic assault and battery; eventually suspended for drug abuse, not violence against women
2007 - Julio Matteo - mlb/Seattle Mariners - beat, kicked and bit wife's lip; knocked down to Triple-A and suspended for 10 days without pay; traded to Phillies and Double-A

this is just through 3 hours of research, tracking names mentioned in columns written by sports writers who are disgusted that pro athletes are basically being told it's OK to assault a woman. when there is no consequence for hitting a woman, they'll keep on assaulting us; when fans twist themselves into knots to excuse behavior that would otherwise land their best buddy in jail (for at least a night), they're telling pro athletes that it's ok; when advertisers turn a blind eye to these charges and incidents, they're saying it's ok.

so fuck vick and his dogs. i don't care if a guy's found with a funeral pyre in his backyard full of dead animals.

these guys, these batterers, should have been in jail and shame on all their fans and supporters who collaborate with them.


Shawna Renee said...

That list is just scary.

ding said...

it is sick, isn't it? these are men and franchises that pull in huge amounts of money that serves to justify (perhaps even feed) their violence.

in an ideal world, the football/baseball/basketball/hockey season widows among us would all pull a 'lysistrata' and force their homes to remain sports free until someone in profession sports started taking some frakking responsibility.

what would i want to see?
i want violence against women to be a 'no tolerance' issue.
i want wives and girlfriends to ask their husbands and boyfriends some really hard, uncomfortable questions about the sport figures they idolize.

i want the women and men in sports bars to start refusing to 'catch the game.' and when they're asked why, i want them to say the game is a polluted cesspool that advocates for assaulting women.

i want to see a pro athlete lose his multi-million dollar contract for hitting, raping, or assaulting a woman. i want them to lose their sponsors; i want them to lose their spot in the draft; i want them to be thrown out of their college teams; i want them to give their rings, belts, trophies back because they're emotionally stunted violent sub-humans that shouldn't be emulated; i want the people who enable them - their coaches, agents, teammates - to be fired; most of all, i want them to be prosecuted for committing a hate crime.

that's what violence against women is - it's a hate crime. men don't brutalize women because they're hurt deep inside; they hurt women because they don't see women as human. they see us as Other; our biology marks us as less than they. but it seems we've become so inured to the notion of violence against women that it doesn't even occur to us to make gender a protected classification like race, religion or sexuality.

Anonymous said...

I am a huge sports fan, borderline bosessed. That being said in no way am I an apologist for athletes behaving badly. While I cannot argue that athletes who have been convicted of anything need to be deatlw ith more harshly, I must raise two issues.

B) If the recent Duke case has taught us anything, its that this country has a justice system that ,more often than not,gets it right. AND , it is not always the accused that is ar fault. WE must be able to seperate accusation from convistions. Also more often than not charges are dropped by wives/girlfriends who despite being abused are too scared to get off the gravy train. These women have a responsibility too, to themselves and other women to coem forward and make sure that an example is made of anyone who is involved in such behaviour

B) There are 1500 atheletes in football. another 1000 in basketball and thousands more in baseball. Conservatively, 5000 atheletes in the three major sports. Keeping that in mind, the percentage of athletes that get into trouble is actually very small. If you take any comparable crossection of society you would finid similar rates of deviancy.
The difference being that these athletes are in the spotlight and their transgressions are resported for all to see. It doesnt make them right but it is indicative of our society that we only hear about the athletes that stray. For every Rae Carruth, there is a Warrick Dunn( Atlanta Falcons) building homes for single mothers, For every Brett Myers theres a David Wright( New York Mets) whose foundation allows soldiers to call home via pre paid phone cards.

We seem to have have become insatiable masochists when it coems to news. Lets all condemn those that do wrong, but also spare a thought for those athletes that get bunched into that group throgh no fault of their own.

ding said...

one, the Duke case is totally separate from this. that was a case of prosecutorial misconduct and this isn't. this is about male organizations making it pretty clear that women don't matter more than profits.

two, you're right; of all the thousands of athletes in professional sports, those with domestic assault or battery charges againstt them are relatively few - maybe 3 percent of the whole thing.

and, yes, you're also right that there are very good guys doing great community outreach for philanthropy in professional sports.

but where were they when their teammates were battering their wives? because one prosecutor in the Duke case frakked his case in no means disqualifies the acts that these men committed. they're on record, in front of witnesses and the police arrested them for a reason - do we need a conviction to call a man a batterer when we've seen him punch his girlfriend's head through the windshield of his car or witnessed him ramming his SUV into hers? do we need a legal ruling when the athlete himself has admitted to knocking his wife around? (like darryl strawberry, who made no secret of his tendency to smack his spouse?)

these are all great points you make about the dangers of overgeneralizing but we're not overgeneralizing. for every single one of these men who have recorded arrests for assault and battery, i bet there is a record of past assault and battery that was either covered up or ignored when he was a promising college athlete. perhaps he was never suspended or kicked off a team, but it's there.

i've always thought one reason these stories of abuse and assault don't make it out of Rumorville is because no one believes the women who tell the stories. (and, thanks to the Duke case, now there'll be all sorts of excuses not to believe women again when they accuse powerful, popular men of being rapists or batterers.)

read about the experiences of the first women to enter the world of professional sports as reporters - it's revealing what that kind of environment will breed.

maybe not all athletes are like rae carruth, but they didn't do anything to stop him, did they? that's reprehensible.

if we back off the topic because we don't want to make anyone feel bad, then the overwhelming result is that we become silent again about domestic violence.

Anonymous said...

The Duke story is not entirely about the prosecutor and is not entirely different. Mike Nifong took a false story and ran with it for his own political ambitions. However there was a false story to begin with! One that was concieved by the "victim".

I am not saying the behaviour of athletes doesnt get covered up. But preferential treatment does not apply to men only. Women actors get off all the time whether it is a DUI, or other crimes. The point I am simply making is that there are more good athletes than bad athletes, there are more good actors than bad actors, there are more good people than bad people, we just seem to be focussed on the latter.

ding said...

please don't mistake my tone. i'm not trying to be combative.

but i'm also trying to figure out your point:
'sometimes women lie, therefore...'

(it's disturbing that this line of argument is starting to resemble the typical MRA rant...)

i'm not saying that false accusations occur (as they do in every crime), but does that mitigate the fact that by and large, our society widely treats violence against women as unimportant, even something to make light of?

ding said...

i meant 'don't occur.'

Anonymous said...

I will make one last comment before I get fired from my job.

My single point is that why do we take a small cross section of society and apply their attitudes to everyone,

If 3 % of athletes are assholes/rapists/abusers/murderers, does that make it fair to brand all athletes with the same iron?

if a certain percentage of men think that abusive behaviour to women is ok, should we all be lumped into the same basket?

if ur argument is that to a man, more men believe that abusive behaviour to women is ok, than not, then we just disagree.

my point is we take small percentages or soemtimes even significant percentages and apply them to everyone. i.e the very definition of generalisation.

i believe most men in this country and everywhere do not abuse women, and do not think it is ok to do so. there are of course those who feel differently and they make up some of ur list. doesnt mean we as a society condone it

ding said...

my day has lasted longer than i would have liked so i know what you mean.

again, i think your points are good ones, re: generalization, etc.

but i don't think i'm painting *all* athletes with the same brush. i'm painting the sports establishment with the same brush - it's the difference between talking about the forest and individual trees. you know?

while individual athletes are good guys, the professional sports establishment, as a whole and in general, has a lot to answer for in perpetuating an environment that says it's ok to abuse women - in fact, because one is a professional athlete, you very well might be entitled to abuse women.

and i feel comfortable saying that because it's clear that there are no rules saying otherwise; of the small percentage of pro athletes who have a record of arrests for assault and battery, an even smaller percent have been formally fined or penalized by their teams/franchises.

that's all i'm saying - there needs to be accountability *somewhere* because, at present, there is none.

(and i appreciate your stopping by)

ding said...

if ur argument is that to a man, more men believe that abusive behaviour to women is ok, than not, then we just disagree.

and here i think that i'm really saying is that our culture believes abusive behavior to women is ok.
in jokes, in movies, in songs (even one by eric clapton!), in comics, in television abusing women is never a traumatic thing or a serious thing but an entertainment thing.

that's my humble opinion.