Super Bowl Sunday

by Caitlyn McTier

Over the last year, the NFL franchise has been under fire unlike ever before. Now if you thought kneeling during the National Anthem was a problem, the numerous untold and unjustified stories of women being abused and sexually assaulted tops it all.

As we all know, the #MeToo movement has taken the world by storm allowing women to have a new found confidence in speaking out against their sexual perpetrators. Ranging from celebrities to politicians, men across the nation and even the world are no longer able to use their power of patriarchy to silence women. for now they are being exposed for their terrible actions.

With the NFL’s LII Super Bowl game between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, millions of Americans eyes have begun to shift over to the multi-billion dollar industry questioning its protection over players in domestic violence and sexual assault cases.

Historically, NFL players have been headlined for years regarding these type cases. According to Sports Illustrated, there were 33 cases alone reported just from 2012 to 2014. To be fair, these players did receive some form of punishment, but that’s only if you consider the minimum amount of jail time and short term probation from game time just.

The NFL faced a ton of backlash concerning their leniency with the Ray Rice case in 2014. Rice, former Baltimore Ravens kicker, was seen in surveillance and arrested for striking and dragging his then fiancee - now wife - out of an elevator. Did his playing time alter? Well not really if you count a two-game suspension. This incident along with other similar cases created an uproar within the leagues fan base calling for new rules to be put in place to give justice to the victims of these horrifying actions.   

The people spoke, and the NFL listened. It’s leaders have begun taking more action by developing new policies to extend probation time for players. In its 2016 Personal Conduct Policy, it states that players involved in sexual assault or domestic violence incidents will, for the first offense, receive a six-game suspension. Any more altercations would result in a lifetime band. Although, we all know there are loopholes to ever rule. It’s nice to see that at least the NFL is off to a decent start in more aggressively reprimanding its players.

Though some of us solely watch the big game for the enjoyment of seeing the year’s corniest commercials or to get your sexy on during Justin Timberlake's sensational half-time performance, it’s important for us to remember that in the midst of America’s great family reunion there are women whose voices have been silenced by players, coaches, and even the franchise as a whole. So here’s the truth: The NFL is making improvements to develop harsher punishments for players who commit sexual and domestic violence crimes. Now here’s the dare: We need to continually challenge the sports industry and franchises like the NFL to strengthen their rules in regard to violence because no women’s voice should ever feel silenced.

Caitlyn McTier