By Randi Crawford
Do you remember Richard Sherman’s infamous interview with Erin Andrews after the Seahawks NFC Championship win? Sherman set up the interception that sent his team to the Super Bowl, and after the play, he went ballistic in an interview with Erin Andrews, dissing San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree. And before you knew it, everyone was calling Richard Sherman a thug.
I want to talk about a real thug and a real issue that needs national attention. Ray Rice beating up his fiancée, and then dragging her out of an elevator, unconscious, like a sack of potatoes. I hope this video is going to help victims of domestic violence gain credibility. We see these men play football, large companies sponsor some, and then we hear about various charges made against them — rape, violence, and even murder. We (the public) never know when it’s real, or whether it’s false accusations. How could we know? We aren’t there!
But this video is very clear. What validates a victim’s mentality is what his wife said on Twitter: “To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret every day is a horrible thing. To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass (off) for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific.” She even went so far as to accept some of the blame and “her role” in what took place that night. I watched a group of NFL wives discussing the incident, and every single one of them said that they understand why Janay (Ray’s wife) would stay with him. They said they understood her reasoning and that NFL wives have an image to uphold. None of these women, including his wife, blame Ray. In fact, they have all turned Ray into the victim. But what really bothers me is that everyone is interested in when Roger Goodell and the NFL initially saw the footage, and how they handled it. We should be focusing on domestic violence, and how we can break the cycle.
They showed footage of the Ravens game last night and several fans, women, were still sporting their “Ray Rice” jerseys. One woman was interviewed and said, “Janay threw the first punch. Any woman that can throw a punch can take a punch.” I actually got sick when I heard this. Ray Rice is a 230-pound professional athlete in peak physical condition; I’m not sure many men could take a punch from him.
Unfortunately, a lot of domestic violence victims, especially those who are married to professional athletes or famous men, hear that kind of backwards thinking all the time. I hope that the footage in the elevator will prove that these women are not making it up for publicity’s sake. How many of you remember the infamous Robin Givens interview? She was sitting next to Mike Tyson, and telling the world that he beat the living daylights out of her, and Mike Tyson just sat there and didn’t say a word. It was awkward, to say the least, and you had no idea what was true and what wasn’t. As a viewer, you thought to yourself, “If he beats you all the time, why do you stay?” The victim is turned into the villain, and we, as a society, feel badly for the abuser? This attitude needs a serious facelift.
When Richard Sherman was asked, after the incident, why he went off, he replied, “It was loud, it was in the moment, and it was just a small part of the person I am.” I get that —he was in the moment, he wasn’t media-trained, and he had just made an insane game-saving play. Richard Sherman didn’t beat a woman, fight dogs, commit murder, get drunk and kill another teammate or rape anyone; he had a “moment” where he sounded like a thug.
This should not be about the commissioner of the NFL; it should be about helping abused women and bringing to light the horror and the reality of domestic violence. I hope this story gets back on track and they use it to help women and stop pointing fingers about who knew what and when. What say you? firstname.lastname@example.org.