ESPN’s Keith Olbermann spoke out harshly against the NFL's decision to give Ray Rice
a two-game suspension for domestic abuse, stating bluntly: “The message to the women who the league claims constitute 50 percent of its fan base: The NFL wants your money. It will do nothing else for you.”
In four minutes, Olbermann obliterated the NFL decision, speaking out against the sexism women face in all sports, but honing in on the NFL.
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“In 2006, when Albert Haynesworth of the Tennessee Titans stomped on the head of a center for the Dallas Cowboys, the National Football League suspended Haynesworth for five games,” Olbermann said. “It was a despicable and dangerous act, but it was during a game, during a play that was part of a violent sport. Though the victim’s helmet had come off, he was still wearing pounds of protective gear.
“Haynesworth, five games. Ray Rice, two games. The National Football League’s concern for Janay Palmer Rice is slightly less than the concern Ray Rice showed for her on that tape,” he said. “After he hit her, after he dragged her, after he propped her up, at least he didn’t try to sell her anything.”
And that was when Olbermann pulled up an image from the NFL shop, highlighting a pink sparkly shirt the NFL was selling featuring Rice’s name and number.
“[The NFL] will tolerate those who abuse you verbally and those who abuse you physically and its elder statesmen will talk about the media distractions that could ensue because one of the NFL's gay active players has finally self-identified without saying a word about the media distractions that could ensue because a star player has knocked out his wife and gotten only two-fifths the punishment another player got for giving an opponent a 30-stitch cut during a game,” Olbermann said.
Others spoke out against the NFL punishment, including ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, who pointed out that the light sentence for domestic abuse wasn’t unprecedented.
Rice was arrested during the offseason for the Feb. 15 incident. An elevator videotape appears to show Rice knocking Palmer unconscious and then dragging her out of the elevator. He pleaded not guilty in May and avoided trial by joining an intervention program.
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