Words are Wind

At first glance, a Mormon feminist would appear to be a kind of contradiction in terms. A feminist is someone who advocates for complete equality between the sexes, an objective to which the rigid gendered social and familial structures proposed by Joseph Smith and his successors are diametrically opposed. But that’s neither here nor there. I don’t particularly give a fig about the contradiction. That feminism is making inroads into the LDS church is a qualified good thing, as is any step taken towards liberalizing the religion.

But if you’re going to keep tabs on this sort of thing, I would discourage you from using The Huffington Post as a metric for gauging progress. Despite his complete inaction on issues that for years have been practically screaming to be resolved, Pope Francis is still the HuffPo’s golden child, his every word a great stride forward to cleaning up the Church of St. Peter. Now, they’re pulling the same crap with Dieter F. Uchtdorf and the LDS church.

Who is Dieter F. Uchtdorf, you ask? I didn’t know until today, and, going out on a limb, I am going to assume no one at the HuffPo did, either. He’s the Second Counselor of the First Presidency, which means, in simple English (of which Joseph Smith was, apparently, not overfond) that he is a high-ranking member of the church selected to assist LDS President Thomas Monson. He’s a big wheel, without a doubt, but far from the biggest the church has to offer. Continue reading

Football gets away with murder, yet again

By now, we’ve all seen the video, the Ohio State strength coach body-slamming a young fan who had climbed down onto the field in the middle of a play. The internets have predictably gone wild with everyone cheering the coach on for taking care of bidness in such a rugged, masculine way.

OSU head coach Urban Meyer was so impressed, he gave the former linebacker a Hit City Award.

Take it from this university employee: Anthony Schlegel should be fired.

If he were an OSU professor and had assaulted a student for wandering up to the podium in the middle of a lecture, he would have been, no questions asked. But because Schlegel is a coach and because OSU is the type of school were meathead jocks are worshiped as gods among men, nothing is going to happen to him. He will be held to a different standard than are the rest of the mere mortals, most of whom are working hard to ensure OSU does what it is actually intended to do (you know, educating students).

That is to say, he won’t be held to any standard at all.

 

That word… I don’t think it means what you think it means

And the insular culture of the NFL raises its ugly head once again as the trolls clamber out from under their bridges to defend the indefensible actions of one of their own. This time, they’re claiming the real victim in the Ray Rice scandal is not Rice’s wife Janay, but abuser himself. Here’s what a few of these clowns told ESPN:

“He told the truth. This is a public lynching of Ray.”

A friend of Rice told CNN’s “OutFront With Erin Burnett” that Rice hasn’t hidden from the ugly truth.

“He told everyone that asked, that was in a position of authority — from the NFL to his bosses with the Ravens — what he did,” said Craig Carton, who is a radio co-host with former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason. “He took ownership of the despicable act and has tried to make it right.”

I can’t speak to Rice’s honesty, and frankly, I don’t give a shit. Being honest about a bad thing you did doesn’t make that bad thing you did any less bad. It doesn’t mean you get to walk away without paying the price. It doesn’t mean you get to keep your multimillion dollar job in the public entertainment business. Continue reading

Goodell Needs to Go

If there’s one thing to be gleamed from the steaming pile of bullshit surrounding the Ray Rice scandal, it is that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell needs to go; and to echo the sentiments of Kieth Olbermann, he should not, at this stage, be allowed to resign.

Revelation that the Atlantic City Police Department furnished the NFL with video footage of Rice knocking his then-fiance out cold in a casino elevator is incontrovertible evidence someone in the League knew the full extent of what Rice had done. Either Goodell knew himself, and has therefore been lying to the press for months, or he is grossly incompetent. Neither is excusable. Neither is forgivable.

The collective membership of the NFL needs to show that they will not stand for this kind of duplicitous shit, even from its highest officers, and allowing Goodell to slide down the ol’ resignation escape hatch is, in effect, doing nothing at all. The League cannot afford to wait for the problem to solve itself. They need to get their hands dirty. They need to take action.

They need to fire Roger Goodell.

 

 

Jeffrey Toobin gets it, too

This is proving to be an unusual news day for me, with not one, but two excellent articles… one of them from CNN, of all places. This posting concerns itself with the latter.

Janay Rice made waves this morning with a heartfelt condemnation of the news media for how they have treated her husband, Ray Rice. She thinks this whole fiasco is about ratings, about taking Rice’s football career away from him, about hurting two people in love. She thinks her husband’s onscreen spousal abuse is matter to be resolved between him and her and no one else. Sounds reasonable, right?

Wrong. And CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin explains why:

Consider that last line: “my family, where they should be resolved.” This is precisely wrong, and it contributes to a fundamental misunderstanding about domestic violence. When husbands beat up their wives, that is not a matter that should be resolved within the family. It is a crime to be resolved by the legal system. In cases of domestic violence, the question is often raised whether the victim will “press charges.” But it’s not victims who press charges in this country, it’s the state.

It’s not up to victims to decide whether their husbands should be prosecuted. Abusers damage the community, not just the women they assault. Whether the Rices and Fullers stay married is their business; but whether Ray Rice and Judge Mark Fuller committed crimes should be a question for prosecutors, and ultimately, juries to decide.

Continue reading

Another day, another asshole football player

Being from Connecticut, I don’t need a reason to dislike the Philadelphia Eagles, but running back LeSean McCoy isn’t helping matters. After visiting burger bar PYT yesterday, McCoy left a generous .03% tip for his server.

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy didn’t score points Monday with a Philadelphia restaurant when he left a 20-cent tip on a $61.56 bill.

The server, Rob Knelly, told NJ.com that McCoy and three pals were unresponsive, rude and profane, although Knelly did forget one of their appetizers and apologized for it. “They ordered things, and once they got it, said ‘We ain’t eating this. … We don’t want it,'” Knelly said.

Some commenters on the restaurant’s Facebook page defended McCoy, citing bad service and offering anecdotes of McCoy’s generous tipping in other circumstance. Others criticized the eatery for violating McCoy’s privacy. McCoy’s teammate, lineman Evan Mathis, chimed in with a dig at the waiter. “So… Don’t sit in Rob’s section?” he wrote in a comment on the restaurant’s Facebook post.

Let’s be clear: we tip servers because their employers, by law, are allowed to pay them well below the minimum wage. Like it or not, restaurants pass the bulk of the cost of server labor onto their customers, and it is therefore incumbent upon them to ensure servers receive a living wage for their hours.

Customer satisfaction is important, but it is not a metric an employer should use when determining compensation for hours worked. No other profession in the country works like that; certainly not professional fucking football, where a player’s pay is contractually guaranteed regardless of how he performs. Could you imagine if players’ pay was determined by popular opinion? No one would play in Philadelphia, I assure you.

Don Banks Fucking Gets It

Knowing the NFL and the kind of loyalty it inspires in the people it routinely reams for many tens of millions of tax-free dollars, there are no doubt some who are praising the league and the Baltimore Ravens for having the courage to fire Ray Rice. That’s bullshit, of course, and Sports Illustrated‘s Don Banks agrees:

Sorry, but you don’t get credit for at best getting duped, or at worst, looking for only the facts that supported an outcome minimizing the public relations damage to all concerned. The Ravens and the league badly tarnished themselves with this one. There’s no way around that, and no spin that will stick.

Spot on, Don. Neither the league nor the Ravens seemed particularly interested  in taking action befitting the severity of Ray Rice’s crime; they just wanted it to go away, progressively handing out paltry and patronizing punishments and policies as more and more information became public, until at last they could no longer hide behind their feigned ignorance. They don’t deserve credit. They deserve a kick in the balls.

I would take it a step further: no one deserves credit for standing up to an irascible puke like Ray Rice. It’s what’s fucking expected of you, especially if you’re the goddamned NFL.

John Harbough Doesn’t Fucking Get It

Tonight, while the Detroit Lions were taking a fifteen-minute break from their otherwise uninterrupted assault upon a thoroughly unprepared New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh strutted out in front of a camera to undertake the unenviable task of announcing the team had fired Ray Rice after reviewing a video in which the star running back can be seen knocking his then-girlfriend completely the fuck out in a Las Vegas elevator. The announcement was sadly — and predictably — tepid:

“After seeing something this morning, seeing the video this morning, we had a chance to get together with Steve, Dick, Ozzie and myself and we had a meeting. It was not a long meeting. We came to the decision we came to to release Ray and that’s what we did,” Harbaugh said. “So you know that. I had a chance to talk with Ray along with Ozzie this afternoon after we did it.”

Asked whether the Ravens saw the video prior to Monday morning, Harbaugh claimed the team saw it for the first time Monday and “it changed things.”

“It’s something we saw for the first time today,” Harbaugh said. “It changed things of course. It made things a little bit different.”

Harbaugh was also asked if his feelings toward Rice — he stood up in front of a podium and defended his (now) former player just months ago — had changed. He said no.

“Everything I said in terms of what I believe I stand by. I believe that still. I’ll always believe those things,” Harbaugh said. “And we’ll always stand in support of them as a couple. That’s not going to change.”

The Ravens coach even went so far as to say he and his wife would offer Rice and his wife support as they move forward, even though Rice is no longer on the team.

“When someone that you care about does wrong and is faced with the consequences it is tough and it is hurtful. My pain is for both of them as a couple,” Harbaugh said. “From everything talking to Ray, up until his suspension, talking with him a lot, was they were working hard and doing well. If I can help them in any way and if my wife and I can help them in any way, we’ll do that.”

Harbaugh also said the video “wasn’t made available” to the Ravens until Monday morning when it went public.

“It wasn’t made available to us. It wasn’t there for us,” Harbaugh said. “As far as I know yeah, it wasn’t something we ever saw or had access to.”

Why not? Harbaugh had “no answer for that” though he does “absolutely” believe the Ravens did their due diligence to find all necessary video available.

Yeah, that’s bullshit. Every stinking fucking line of it. Continue reading