North Texas Daily

Kareem Hunt case illustrates NFL’s infamous mishandling of domestic violence

Kareem Hunt case illustrates NFL’s infamous mishandling of domestic violence

Kareem Hunt case illustrates NFL’s infamous mishandling of domestic violence
December 05
22:11 2018

The latest domestic violence scandal from the NFL proves the organization still values its players’ ability to play more than their treatment of women.

Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt was cut from the team on Nov. 30 after a surveillance video from February surfaced showing Hunt in an altercation with a woman inside a hotel, ultimately pushing her to the floor. However, when news of the incident first broke 10 months ago, the Chiefs stood by Hunt.

This isn’t the first case of an entity disregarding a “potential problem” until it has become publicized, and it certainly isn’t first time the NFL has participated in this.

Out of 713 NFL player arrests from 2000-14, 85 of them were for domestic violence, according to a study from St. John Fisher College. Twelve percent may not seem like that big of a number, but players elevated to celebrity status with such enormous influence need to be held to a higher standard if they want to keep their platform.

The study also states despite increasing awareness of the issue, the pattern of violence in the NFL remains unchanged throughout the years.

A big problem with the NFL is its fanbase’s inability (or unwillingness) to hold it or the players accountable for their actions. At the end of the day, the NFL is a business, and it wants its customers to continue to consume what it’s selling. Only once the customer stops consuming its programs or buying its merchandise does the NFL consider addressing serious issues within its organization — or at least, make it seem like they’re addressing them.

When everyday women like your friends or your Spanish professor see you support an organization or team that routinely sweeps domestic violence under the rug or merely treat it as a minor infraction, they are internalizing that dismissal. Chances are, they’ve experienced harassment or assault in some form themselves — according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women have experienced some form of physical violence with an intimate partner.

Supporting football players — who are often idolized by young men — displaying this abusive behavior is telling victims their pain and trauma doesn’t matter, that abuse just isn’t that big of a deal and we should look past it. You wouldn’t want your sister’s domestic abuse case to be trivialized or dismissed, so why is that so often the response when the offender is an NFL player?

When something is widely loved in pop culture it becomes deified in a way — it can do no wrong unless it’s something really wrong. But when is enough going to be enough? Our collective culture needs to come to the realization that violence against women deserves real ramifications and deserves to be treated seriously, no matter how good the perpetrator is at football.

Until we’re all on the same page about violence against women, large organizations like the NFL will continue to turn a blind eye to it if their customers don’t consistently speak up about their disdain for it. By allowing harmful behavior to persist unmitigated, we lay the framework for its normalization.

It is way past due for the NFL to make a committed effort in changing the way it regards domestic abuse — and the organization’s fans have the stadium with the loudest echo to put the change in motion.

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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North Texas Daily

North Texas Daily

The North Texas Daily is the official student newspaper of the University of North Texas, proudly serving UNT and the Denton community since 1916.

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