Ray Rice and Oscar Pistorius: Sports, Domestic Violence, and the Ties That Bind


This week has been a heavy one for the sports world. Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson is selling his team after an email reflecting his disdain for black fans became public. Celebrated former Duke basketball star Danny Ferry’s boy-next-door image was shattered after he was found to have made disparaging remarks about small forward Luol Deng’s African heritage. The Ravens axed superstar running back Ray Rice after TMZ released footage of the tape where Rice decked his then-girlfriend Janay Palmer during an argument in an elevator. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodellis now backpedaling on why he only suspended Rice for two games, even though he and the NFL insist they never saw the entire tape of what transpired on the elevator.
The Rice story has been so pervasive in the media that folks have all but forgotten that storied South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius was back in trial today to hear the verdict in the killing of his girlfriend, model Reeva Steenkamk, in a domestic violence incident. (Earlier today Pistorius was acquitted of murder but found “negligent” in the killing.)
Once again the topic of domestic violence and sports have come barreling to television and computer screens, mobile phones and social media networks. The Ray Rice and Oscar Pistorius incidents are giving us yet another opportunity to discuss the problem of violence against women in society in general and violence against women in sports specifically and yet we continue to participate in the same ritual that ensures that these horrific incidents won’t be isolated, but will remain the status quo.
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