I been told silly things like “He’s one of us” – well if you mean human yeah he’s one of us can’t really argue that.
Crazy things like “He’s one of if not the best fighter of all time” please just in my lifetime I say fighters like Leonard, Hagler and Duran would whip his behind. Hell I’ll put even money on the Bronx’s own 3 time champion and boxing hall of famer Wilfred Benítez
But the real reason I’m not rooting for Mayweather, not that he cares, is that he truly seems to be a bad guy. Here in New York callers to local radio shows call Alex Rodriquez evil and practically suggest we burn him at the stake because he cheated. To paraphrase Allen Iverson what are we talking about cheating? Cheating in a game? Cheating in a game. We talking about a game. Not real life a game.
Yet here is Floyd Mayweather who has six times been charged with domestic violence and served two months in jail in 2012 for the 2010 beating of the mother of three of his children. We’re not talking about a game here, we’re talking about real life.
Mayweather will make north of 180 million dollar tonight to do what he those for a living attempt to beat up other professionally trained men. Yet he not once, not twice, not three times, not four times, not even five times but six times has been charged with putting his hands on a defenseless woman. Think about that for a second, let it sink in. Six times charged! One can only wonder how many incidents never made its way to the public. Yet tonight many fans and reporters will talk about him like he invented boxing and fawn over him like he’s some kind of hero.
There are those who try to explain away Mayweather’s behavior. Those who say it was his tough upbringing. Those who say the negativity toward him is based on stereotypes. Those who say when you know him you can’t but come away thinking he’s a insightful, intelligent, likable person. Maybe all that is true yet I wonder if one of the several women who were the recipient of a straight right hand to the face felt the same way.
Over the last year a handful of athletes have unfortunately by their actions shined light on domestic violence and how heinous a crime it is. It is unfortunate that a crime that has devastated and took the lives of so many is still all too often turned a blind eye to. Saturday night people around the world will cheer on one of the biggest cowards in sports, because only a coward hits a woman, Floyd Mayweather their boxing hero. I’ll go watch the Avengers a movie about fictional heroes. Mayweather won’t get a dime from me.
Rodger Goodell held a press conference on Friday and when it was over it seemed like everyone from current and former NFL players and women’s groups to politician and the media had a singular reaction, it’s time for him to go. Yes Friday was a bad day, in a host of bad days lately for Goodell and in all honesty he deserves it. But you know who was just fine with Friday? Thirty two NFL owners and their corporate sponsors. Because on Friday Rodger Goodell did what they pay him an obscene amount of money to do – on Friday Goodell shielded the shield.
There are 32 billionaires in the world who just happen to own NFL franchises, toys for most of them, toys that they were able to purchase thanks to their success or their family’s success in other businesses. They are very powerful and wealthy men and make no mistake they do not stand back idly waiting for Rodger Goodell to tell them what their next steps should be. As Hall of Famer Chris Carter so aptly put it, he never worked for the NFL he worked for the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings. Steve Bisciotti is the owner of the Baltimore Ravens, Ray Rice was an employee of Steve Bisciotti and any time that he wanted to Steve Bisciotti could have taken Ray Rice off the field. Could have said the Raven organization does not condone any type of abuse toward women and will not be associated with anyone who commits violence toward women, as such we are releasing Ray Rice or he could have said we are suspending Ray Rice while he undergoes mandated counseling. Steve Bisciotti did neither, well not until public pressure and a videotape released by TMZ forced his hand. Jerry Richardson owns the Carolina Panthers he has a player in Greg Hardy who was found guilty by a judge of choking his than girl friend dragging her around by her hair and threatening to kill her. Hardy is appealing the verdict but Jerry Richardson could have taken a stand nevertheless and taken his employee off the field. Instead Hardy, a star defensive end, played week one was deactivated week two, in the wake of the Ray Rice video, and was set to return week three, again that was until the public outcry forced the Panthers hand. To date, as far as I know, no one or no group has called for either of these men to sell their teams. No one or group has suggested boycotting their franchises or worst yet their outside business interests.
On the whole NFL owners have remained tight-lipped about their ugly problem. Not one has called for mandatory domestic violence classes for all rookies coming into league to help them better understand the pattern of abuse and gain coping skills in their interpersonal relationships. No NFL owner has suggested the NFL contribute to domestic violence organizations. In fact to my knowledge no NFL owners has done or said anything on their own to address this problem.
Some NFL corporate sponsors have pulled endorsement deals from Rice and Adrian Peterson and some have expressed “concern” over the problem of domestic violence in the NFL but not one has pulled out of their very lucrative NFL deals. This Sunday and every other Sunday, Monday and Thursday their commercials, which in many cases heavily rely on the objectification of women, will be beamed into your home to sell you any and everything including alcoholic products. By the way when it comes to those alcoholic products some studies have found that while alcohol may not have a direct correlation to domestic violence some abusers use alcohol as an excuse to become violent allowing them to justify their abuse on the alcohol. Yet no groups are calling for the boycott of these corporate sponsors or asking them any hard questions as it relates to the partnership with the NFL.
Yes Friday was a very bad day for the Rodger Goodell but to those that matter and profit from the NFL Friday was a great day – Goodell shielded the shield.
“We believe the additional year of maturity would be meaningful. And increasingly, I’ve been told by many NBA coaches that one of the issues with the younger guys coming into the league is they’ve never had an opportunity to lead. By having come directly out of their first year of college, those are the moments in their lives where…they were put in positions as upperclassmen, where they first learned how to lead teammates.”
– NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on raising the NBA minimum age
So what you’re saying, Mr. Silver, is that by staying an extra year on a college campus, these young men will be afforded the opportunity to remain in a nurturing environment which will allow them to grow mentally, build strong characters and facilitate their growth into leaders. Well, I can’t argue with that it sounds great except for this:
Ray Rice – Rutgers University 2005-2007
Greg Hardy – University of Mississippi 2006-2009
Hmmm, I guess their college experience didn’t help with that strong character thing.
You see, what Mr. Silver wanted to say was this.
We believe that an additional year of exposure at the college level would significantly improve the marketability of players eligible for the NBA draft, which will allow us to increase our revenue stream. After all, the NBA is a business just like the NFL and every other sports league, and at the end of the day, our bottom line is why we do what we do.
The concept that the mere act of going to college will ensure young male athletes will mature mentally, build strong characters, take responsibility for their actions, and become the leaders of tomorrow is no more real than believing that being elected to Congress would accomplish those same things. Sadly we have seen in both cases that’s not the case.
Going to college can and has played a critical role in the development of many young men. It provides them with an environment where they can develop their identity and internalize a personal set of beliefs and values absent from their family and childhood community’s external influences. However, in most cases, there will always be those who overcome; when this occurs in a positive fashion, there is more at play than just simply the act of stepping onto a college campus. Instead, it is the existence of a strong and healthy foundation established from early childhood that is in place. One that serves as a roadmap for young adults as they mature, adopt their belief systems, and increasingly begin to accept responsibility for their actions.
It is easy to look at those who do wrong and debate what form of punishment best suits their crime in society. But what is difficult is to look inward and find the root causes for the issues at hand, and until we do that, we will never advance as a society. What is clear is that we must endeavor to lay the proper foundation for our young men to grow and build on as a society. A large part of this is in teaching our young men how to respect women from the moment they can walk through our words and actions. The challenges to doing just that are many in today’s world. The number of young men being raised by single mothers is higher today than it has ever been, and while many of them are doing an excellent job, it does not negate the importance for young men to have positive male role models to look to. Pop culture and sports stars have long since abdicated that responsibility, not that they ever should have had it, which means that the burden falls on the men in the community to model proper behavior and respect toward women in their community at all times, to mentor young men on how to communicate their feelings without violence or threats and to be involved in their children’s lives, and not just through court-ordered child support payments, whether they are still involved with the child’s mother or not. An old African proverb popularized by a Hilary Clinton book in the 90s tells us that it “It takes a village to raise a child,” and never has that been more true than today with so many young men being raised without positive male influences in their lives and the constant sexual objectification of women they are overwhelmed with on television, social media and everyday life. The choice is ours. We can either start to lay the foundation for the next generation of young men or watch them continue down a path we know leads to their ultimate destruction.
I’m six feet 240 pounds. When I was 29 years old, I dated a beautiful young lady who was all five feet 105 pounds, quite the odd couple we were. Our relationship was like a supernova. We met, fell in love, burned bright for two years, and then exploded never to see each other again. The passion of our relationship would at times lead to animated disagreements, and it was during one of these disagreements that she, all five feet 105 pounds of her, leaped off the floor, her hand clenched and punched me square on the jaw. I was stunned for a second, and then I reacted. I took one step back, looked her right in the face, and… told her I was going for a walk. It was the only reaction I could ever have imagined. It was the reaction my father, Charles W. Cooke, had taught me since I was a child. To be a man, you have to act like a man; he would say, which means you never put your hands on a woman. I share this story not to pat myself on the back, after all, you don’t pat yourself on the back for doing what you’re supposed to do, but to make a point to the embarrassing number of young men who say Ray Rice may have been provoked, that he may have had a good reason for striking his now-wife. That point is a simple one; there is never a good reason for striking a woman. Never. To indeed be a man, you have to accept that some things come with the territory. One of those things is the understanding that by nature, we are the bigger and stronger gender physically and that our strength is to be used to protect the women in our lives, not to abuse them. If one day you are placed in the awkward situation where a woman decides to “test your manhood” by putting her hands on you, your response is simple; you walk away. Walking away confirms your manhood because a real man walks away while a coward strikes back.
This summer, we had two elevator videos to view and dissect, and while we made fun of the now infamous Jay-Z and Solange video, it was in that video that a man who grew up in the projects of Brooklyn showed us how a real man reacts by merely not reacting. So young men, next time you want to keep it real, prove you’re not a punk, be a real man, do what real men do, and walk away.