NFL Family Violence Incidents Spurring Changes





American society is struggling over changing values on familial violence.

The NFL is ground zero.

Since the time of the caveman, a “might is right” standard, in fact, if not law, has governed the man’s right to knock the crap out of his wife and kids with impunity.

A wife and children were the man’s property.

It’s only in the last fifty years that we have seriously begun to reconsider this age-old cultural value.  And we have not settled it yet. We’re not even close.

I thought about this while reading the reports of NFL All-Star Adrian Petersen who was arrested for beating his kid with a switch.

(There were two differences between him and my father.  First, my father used a belt instead of a switch.  Second, no one called the police…my father was the police.)

If you think society rejects physical violence against children, you could not be further from the truth. A proposal to outlaw/criminalize parents hitting their kids wouldn’t get 20% at the polls.  You can’t even get the legislature to outlaw public school paddling.

In reality, the only thing in debate is an ever moving, blurred line.  You may have been appalled by the scars on Adrian Petersen’s four year old son.  Not NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. He sees this as a perfectly acceptable form of punishment that is part of the Southern Black culture.

As a Public Defender in the 1980’s, the office represented a Haitian preacher who was arrested for whipping a child with a stripped electrical cord.  He was dumbfounded that he was being prosecuted for something that was acceptable in his culture.

It was not long ago, that knocking around the “old lady” was no big thing.  It was a source of humor.  One of the most famous catch phrases in television history is Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason/ “The Honeymooners”) screaming: “One of these days Alice, one of these days..POW, right in the kisser.” We all laughed.

It was not until the last few decades that marital rape became a crime.  Up until then, rape was limited to sexual violence against someone who was “not a spouse”.

South Carolina still has different legal standards for rape in and out of marriage.  To successfully prosecute marital rape it must be proved that the rape was accomplished by “the use or the threat of use of a weapon or the use or threat of use of physical force or physical violence of a high and aggravated nature”.

In S.C., non-marital rape can be proven by a lesser standard and it has a significantly greater punishment?

But law and custom sometimes tilts to wives and girlfriends.

Consider the Ray Rice video. Look at a few times.  It’s not totally clear who started the dispute.  If they were strangers and more particularly if they were both the same gender, we would be vigorously debating who started the fight.  That would especially apply in  “Stand Your Ground” states like Florida.

In 2004, when Dolphin tight end Randy McMichael came home drunk, his pregnant wife smacked him in the face. He pushed her and she fell to the ground. On paper, the law says that even 6-3, 247 pound men have a right to self-defense that is reasonable based on the physicality of the parties. Limiting yourself to pushing away someone who has smacked you sounds pretty reasonable to me.   Nevertheless, because she was pregnant, he was arrested for aggravated battery. Eventually the charges were dropped.

Should a dispassionate analysis of the evidence be ignored because the parties are dating, engaged, married or the gender of the victim?

Exactly where do we want the line drawn on parent’s rights to punish their kids?

The only thing clear is that the last fifty years have seen an overturning of written and unwritten rules that have governed us for literally a thousand millennia.

Through happenstance, the man who has found himself in charge of straightening this out for society is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

I’m not sure that’s gonna work out too well.

18 Responses to “NFL Family Violence Incidents Spurring Changes”

  1. Buddy says:


    The exemption for spousal rape no longer exists in Florida. Its elimination prompted vigorous debates in the state Legislature, some of which I covered in 1980.

    The most outspoken critic of dropping the spousal exemption was state Rep. Tom Bush, a Born Again Christian. Bush was eminently quotable and way ahead of his time in Republican politics as one of the first members of the religious right in Tallahassee. He was also from Broward (R-Hollywood) and a very personable guy, so I spent a lot of time covering him.

    Bush’s philosophy could be summed up in this quote during the debate on spousal rape: “The State of Florida has absolutely no business intervening into the sexual relationship between a husband and a wife… We don’t need Florida invading the sanctity and intimacy of a relationship.”

    He had a lot of support for that position.

    Even the Florida Legislature eventually changed and removed the exemption for spousal rape. Currently you can be charged with rape of your spouse, although lawyers will tell you it is often a hard case to prove.

    Bush quit the state House in 1982 after four years, ran against Tom McPherson, a Democrat, for state Senate and lost.

    (McPherson had beaten Kathleen Wright in the 1981 primary. Wright quit the School Board to run. She died in a plane crash in Dallas in 1985. The School Board HQ is named after her.)

    It was not surprising that Bush lost since there was little room for a Republican in Broward politics by 1982. Broward had changed politically because of the the flood of Democrats moving to Broward from the Northeast in the early 1980s and by reapportionment.

    Bush moved to Charlotte, N.C. where he served on the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners, including a term as chair. He now is in private practice in Charlotte.

  2. juliet hibbs says:

    Awesome dialog to open! I saw the child’s legs photos and it crosses the line. Now…what about an opportunity to educate. The expression I saw must have been that of the pastor…wait this is criminal. Was done to me! I see more and more violence. One reason I won’t shop at Walmart is I do not want to see aggressive behavior towards people.
    This is either a growing problem, but more likely, it is exposure.
    These are opportunities to speak of an evolving society. Get people to remember how broken they felt in that helpless situation. We can create more change in society this way.
    Now, the elevator, I am of two minds about it and do know it would be discussed who was the aggressor if they were of the same sex. Must as a football player he is big and strong. But the’s are good points and ones that NEED to be discussed so we can evolve socially

  3. count l f chodkiewicz chudzikiewicz says:

    That north carolina would elect such a terrible person says nothing good about north carolina. That moslems treat their women like domestic n sexual slaves n msnbc n sam fields wont confemn it shows the ñsmbc left is as lousey as the sean hannity lying right

  4. Ha Ha Ha says:

    Spanking Is Counterproductive And Dangerous

  5. s only says:

    Society is changing on this issue because women are getting more powerful. It’s a s l o w process because of women’s hesitance to revolt violently. But the day will come when men are finally put into their place. No crying here about out that. Just hope I live to see it.

  6. Sam The Sham says:

    Concerning the Ray Rice video, if memory serves correctly, I saw her hitting him first and more than once. If they were the same sex, he would be completely justified in his actions.

    So, should she be treated specially because she is a woman or should she be treated as a man would be? Don’t women want to be equal?

  7. Hey Tylock, or is it Ziggy?aka fred sanford says:

    Ziggy, Just had the chance to read your theatrics from awhile back.Don’t lose any sleep over me, I’m a pussy cat. All meow, no scratch.As always, anywhere I go, I teach how to make money and keep them laughing; even “up the road” Peace. Buddy, since you are a fine reporter, let me help you with some facts. 2 myocardial infarctions, 3 stents, 65% blockage in the “widowmaker”. During one stent placement Dr. was so flustered by the patient being handcuffed to the cath table and a BSO deputy nearby, he left 3 feet of lead wire in the heart, aorta down to the femoral artery. Found 3 years later and almost died from having it dug out. [ won the lawsuit BTW]WHAT DOES YOUR CALLOUSED ATTY INFORMANT WANT CODE BULE/SUDDEN DEATH TO PROVE CARDIO PROBLEMS? Domestic violence is unacceptable. A MAN SHOULD NOT TOUCH A WOMAN PLAIN AND SIMPLE. It’s also a horribl4 tag to hang on a wrongly accused man and prosecute. It destroys lives, health and kids.In 60 years of life where one HAS NEVER TOUCHED ANOTHER PERSON [man or woman}his life, health,ability to earn a living and help his kids should not so cavalierly be destroyed.Confrontational, yea, competitive, sure, determined to clear my name and restore my reputation, count on it, amends needed , absolutely. But never, ever appearded on anyone’s doorstep. NEVER HAPPENED!!!!!!!Give my best to Sam, I hear he might have a new opinion on heart problems. I wish him good health. Ask him if he got his Facebook at 19-24 where I put my folks in? Ciao.

  8. Sam Fields says:

    All women want equality…until the waiter brings the check.

  9. Oink Oink says:

    @Fields at (8)

    Sexist pig

  10. Jill says:

    Fields is living in the past with his last comment. Men from Fields’ era need to have a woman subservient to their wallets. The women I know don’t need or want a man to pay for them. Fuck you Fields.

  11. Livin' Yesterday. says:


    Fields’ little lady has his martini shaken and his meatloaf and mashed potatoes hot and ready for him when he gets home. Then they sit down and watch Ed Sullivan and Ozzy and Harriet while he puffs on a Camel and she on a Virginia Slim.

    If junior acts up, he gets out his belt. He cheats on the side and that’s like every other men he knows, because they are men and they think they run the world.

  12. Chaz Stevens, Festivus says:


    I’ve been a long time student, a curious investigator of the phenomenon “women turn the other way when the bill comes.”

    It is kinda true. Doesn’t happen all the time, but a great majority of the time.

    I’ve also noticed a direct correlation between a woman’s hotness and her desire to pay for her drinks/drugs/tapas.

  13. Courthouse Gal says:

    You might have a little slave for your wife who trades sex for you picking up the check, Fields. Women like me live in a world where women are equal and meaningful relationships are built on partnerships and not wallets. Do you have a daughter? Do you want her to be dependent on a man?

  14. Sam Fields says:

    One bon mot and Betty Friedan comes out of the grave to haunt me.

    I’ve told tasteless jokes at funerals. I have a series of Auschwitz jokes and worse.

    But god forbid you make a gentle rib about women.

    Which reminds me.

    How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

    One! And there’s nothing funny about that!!!!

  15. dk says:

    all men want homecooked meals and not pay for the groceries so maybe they should pay the tab in a restaurant. maybe the woman would pay the check if the man dressed really nice

  16. dk says:

    yeah, what jill says and what courthouse gal says

  17. Chaz Stevens, Festivus says:

    Consistent with conventional norms, most men (84 percent) and women (58 percent) reported that men pay for most expenses, even after dating for a while. Over half (57 percent) of women claim they offer to help pay, but many women (39 percent) confessed they hope men would reject their offers to pay, and 44 percent of women were bothered when men expected women to help pay. Nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of men believed that women should contribute to dating expenses, and many feel strongly about that: Nearly half of men (44 percent) said they would stop dating a woman who never pays. A large majority of men (76 percent), however, reported feeling guilty accepting women’s money.

  18. city activist robert walsh says:

    comm.roger Goodell must go. I say replce him w/ someone new, younger, hipper, better looking. who you ask. Replace Goodell w/ former Miami dolphins ZACH THOMAS. Zach would be a great replacement..