I tried and I tried unsuccessfully while watching the Super Bowl to ignore Big Ben’s off-the-field indiscretions involving women, but I couldn’t get away from the obvious double standard of society jumping all over Michael Vick, who has paid his dues, and Roethlisberger, who clearly has a dim view of women and their rights to their bodies.
If, as Howard Cosell tried to tell us, “Sports is a reflection of society,” then clearly U.S. culture is sick and degenerative. On the face of the evidence, it appears that in this society dogs are more important than human beings, and some people foolishly believe that dogs are man’s best friend.
No. In truth, man is and should be man’s best friend.
Yes, I am aware that Vick was convicted and Roethlisberger was not. In fact, Roethlisberger was not even charged, though in his last instance of alleged misbehavior in Georgia there was more than enough evidence to indicate that Roethlisberger had, at the very least, conducted himself in an indecent and disorderly manner.
But the awestruck and women-hating cops couldn’t bring themselves to even address that. In that instance Roethlisberger, according to written affidavits, exposed his privates. But somehow the report was botched and evidence went missing, including the bar’s videotape of the event.
In other words, Roethlisberger exposed himself in a public bar and then, according to his accuser, he proceeded to sexually assault her. And this happened after he had been previously accused of misconduct by two women. Yet the star quarterback didn’t even get a citation for disorderly conduct.
The NFL was so alarmed by his conduct that they initially suspended him for six games. This is an indication that while it is true that he was not found guilty of a crime or charged with sexual assault, he is clearly not innocent. At the very least, he is guilty of bad judgment; tellingly, he didn’t fight the suspensions with any vigor.
So why all the silence, especially in light of all the recent commentary by female writers and columnists about the rights — or lack of rights — that Arab women enjoy? Surely if the mistreatment of animals is worth protesting, shouldn’t the mistreatment of women stir up as much consternation?
One would think that there would be protests and a mass outcry about how the mistreatment of women must not be tolerated, much like the PETA folks did in the Vick situation. One would expect that feminist groups, even the National Organization for Women, would use Roethlisberger’s indiscretions to highlight the problem with rape, and especially date rape, in U.S. society.
Yet there was little talk about this issue the week of the Super Bowl. A very few brave male sports enthusiasts took up this cause. One of them was Andrew Sharp, editor of SBNation.com, who said, “It may seem unfair to bring up rape allegations that surfaced 10 months ago and ultimately went unproven, but it’s also something that hasn’t been done nearly enough this week. Instead, we’ve gotten tales of redemption, the stories of Pittsburgh’s perseverance.”
One would have expected female writers to have more to say on this issue. I suspect women were silent — especially White women, the same who were so hostile toward Vick — are silent about Big Ben and his misbehavior involving women because the Steeler quarterback is White and the dictates of White Supremacy override their own self-interest.
I suspect it’s because these women saw first in Vick a Black man who deep down they don’t feel should be able to make millions of dollars, especially after he had done something criminal in our unforgiving society. They inherently know the rules: Black folks are to be given one chance and one chance only!
Ironically, this is just another ploy by the ruling rich to keep us divided, because in truth no one is innocent and we all need forgiveness and redemption from time to time. For those who I think I exaggerate, take a closer look.
Oddly, the Steeler quarterback has been offered redemption although he has clearly been unrepentant and unapologetic, while the obviously penitent and remorseful Vick is denied redemption by a society that — deny it if they will — sees race first and foremost.
Moreover, I suspect the silence on this subject is also because many women understand their place in this society and understand the pecking order, which ranks White men first (White Supremacy), then dogs (animals), then White women, then other people of color, and finally Blacks.
Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.