CBS debuted its “Thursday Night Football” coverage, and it had to improvise a bit in the wake of the continuing developments regarding the Ray Rice case. For example, it scratched an opening sequence that would have included the song “Run This Town,” which features Rihanna (who knows a thing or two about domestic violence). Instead, viewers got a report from Norah O’Donnell of “CBS This Morning,” who had an update on embattled NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Later, James Brown weighed in on the subject of domestic violence. The host of “The NFL Today,” looking straight at the camera, offered this powerful commentary:
“Two years ago, I challenged the NFL community and all men to seriously confront the problem of domestic violence, especially coming on the heels of of the murder-suicide of Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher, and girlfriend Kasandra Perkins. Yet here we are again confronting the same issue of violence against women.
“Now, let’s be clear, this problem is bigger than football. There has been, appropriately so, intense and widespread outrage following the release of the video showing what happened inside the elevator at the casino.
“But wouldn’t it be productive if this collective outrage — as my colleagues have said — could be channeled to truly hear and address the long-suffering cries for help from so many women? And, as they said, do something about it? Like an ongoing, comprehensive education of men about what healthy, respectful manhood is all about. And it starts with how we view women.
“Our language is important. For example, when a guy says, “You throw the ball like a girl,” or “You’re a little sissy,” it reflects an attitude that devalues women, and attitudes will eventually manifest in some fashion.
“Women have been at the forefront in the domestic violence awareness and prevention arena, and whether Janay Rice considers herself a victim or not, millions of women in this country are. Consider this: According to domestic violence experts, more than three women per day lose their lives at the hands of their partners. That means that since the night of February 15th in Atlantic City, more than 600 women have died.
“So this is yet another call to men to stand up and take responsibility for their thoughts, their words, their deeds and, as Deion [Sanders] says, to give help or to get help, because our silence is deafening and deadly.”
Timely and important words from Brown. And a reminder that the Rice controversy is hardly the first time that the American public has been appalled by an incident of domestic violence involving an NFL player. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the last incident, either, but one hopes that a national conversation can start to put a dent into the horrific statistic Brown cited.