So Cam Newton showed his behind this week. He told a reporter that he found her question about running routes funny because she’s a “female.” I will allow Twitter and other forms of social media to drag him accordingly (as he should be dragged) given that nonsense of a statement that not only left his brain, but traveled through his lips and out his mouth via a chuckle. Nor am I paying attention to his insincere apology. The Internet has already said what needs to be said about his commentary including calling out the racist comments made by the same reporter who went to the Internet and called foul on Cam…I see you too girl. I am both black and a cis-woman. Intersectionality is a thing. Look it up.
I, however, am reserving my continued beef and read for the NFL and their shenanigans. They quickly put out a statement through their spokesperson Brian McCarthy that Cam’s words, “are just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league. They do not reflect the thinking of the league.”
Clearly, the NFL is batting clean-up with these statements. Yet their batting average is .000. Their past and current actions do very little to support their belief that gender inequality is “wrong” and “disrespectful.” Rather its more of a PR stunt to distance themselves from sexist behavior by one of their employees. Its easy to drag a player when hoards of folks are already doing so. Just likes its easy to take a knee as a team of players, owners and coaches when 45 tries to challenge an owner’s power to do as they like with their players. (I can’t even with this…I just have to leave this commentary for another day).
“The NFL like so many other institutions become complicit in maintaining sexism as a system of oppression…”
Here’s what seems clear. The NFL is only about their paper—women be damned, black people be damned. Because there are many incidents of public record that involves sexual assault allegations (see: Ben Roethlisberger) and domestic violence situations in which the NFL Commissioner gives players either a slap on the wrist or a harsher punishment when folks cry foul (see: Ray Rice). From 2012-2014 alone, there were 33 incidents that occurred that included domestic violence, battery and murder, with half the victims being women. Yet even POST the NFL’s updated policies to combat violence against women, including domestic and sexual violence, the NFL has failed to pay attention to its own updated language. Language that unequivocally states its a “privilege to be part of the National Football League” and that “everyone who is part of the league must refrain from conduct detrimental to the integrity of and public confidence in the NFL.” Because somehow wonders and coaches still recruited and signed individuals with incidents of domestic and sexual violence on their records just this past year.
The NFL like so many other institutions become complicit in maintaining sexism as a system of oppression by willfully ignoring or responding in ways that are problematic that ultimately sanctions this messed up behavior due to their weak response. Behavior that has its roots in patriarchy which deem identity markers like cis/trans women, femininity, feminine, and femaleness as “lesser than” simply because of one’s sex and/or gender expression. It makes it socially acceptable that anyone within these identity categories are targets of verbal, psychic, physical and/or sexual abuse and violence— a notion built into cultural, institutional, and structural fabric of society. And to those who want respond with the counter argument that women are violent and target men too, #stopyourself. Then do your homework and review the CDC’s report that homicide was the number 1 killer women nearly half of homicide victims were killed by a former or current male partner.
Yet the NFL is not about truly ending sexism and the violence that helps to maintains it; any more than are they committed to addressing racial inequality, criminal justice reform and police violence. Rather owners and coaches are about ensuring capital keeps rolling their happy behinds into the seats and cheering on their respective teams. Once again, women be damned, Black folks be damned. Therefore this Black, multi-racial feminist is not here for more false platitudes about sexism having no place in the NFL. Clearly it has a place. A special reserved place, center field, on the 50-yard line.