Thursday, February 3, 2011

I'm sure that will make it all better, Roger

This week NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has this to say about Ben Roethlisberger: "I think Ben's committed to making the right decisions. He's doing a tremendous job of focusing on football and trying to win the Super Bowl, and I think the fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers appreciate that."

Here's the thing, Roger. Your boy has repeatedly proven himself to be a sexist bully and predator. Focusing on his game and winning the super bowl ain't gonna change that. I feel sorry for Steeler fans, but I hope the Packers win.

Either way, this is the first Super Bowl I ain't watching. Because fuck Ben Roethlisberger. And fuck the culture of professional athletics that allows this behavior to continue, in spite of the token sanctions the league may impose. Fuck the moving-in-packs-and-protecting-your-boy m.o. that allowed Roethlisberger to commit repeated sexual assaults. Fuck the system that allows wealthy white men like Roethlisberger to avoid criminal charges or repercussions. And fuck the example athletes and celebrities like Roethlisberger set for young men.

My daughters are watching me, and sadly, I don't want them to see me watching football right now. Maybe some day. Maybe even next season, accompanied by some serious discussions about the flawed culture of male professional athletics and our social construction of masculinity and the sad reality of rape culture. But not right now. This year on Super Bowl Sunday I'm hosting an anti-superbowl, Chinese New Year party. Good food will be eaten, crafts will be crafted, and chocolate will be consumed. But no football will be watched.


  1. Anonymous2/03/2011

    My husband is a HUGE professional football fan. I HATE professional football with a fire that burns like a thousand suns. I now hate that my husband watches football with our son, and have been exceptionally vocal this season about WHY I hate it so much. (the sexism, the criminal behavior, the misogyny, the ridiculously inflated sense of importance attached to a GAME.)

    I'm sorta hoping that one day the Sundays in this house aren't dictated by what time the game is on...

    I'm glad you wrote this.

  2. Anonymous2/03/2011

    You act as if he was convicted of these crimes. These are still allegations, and in this county your innocent until prove guilty.

  3. Yep. They are allegations. And they'll stay that way. What woman in her right mind would press charges against big Ben?

    But it seems to me that if you're not violating any laws or assaulting someone in the bathroom, you probably don't need your friends and body guards to block the door.

  4. I have this discussion about football with my brother-in-law all the time. My objection to football is that the commercials and halftime entertainment are becoming more and more inappropriate for kids. This really is not family entertainment, when little bits of almost-porn are strewn throughout the game. We enjoy having these big family parties on game days, but I feel increasingly uncomfortable about it.

  5. Cinnabun2/04/2011

    We go back and forth on this. There are times when I think sheltering your kids from offensive media is the best way to go. At other times I think you need to use it as an opportunity to discuss it so they'll be prepared to be critical of it when they eventually are exposed to it. It certainly doesn't hurt to take a break from it all at times.

  6. Anonymous2/04/2011

    I am so sick of the NFL and the hypocrisy of the media on this topic. I'm no feminist, but there's no arguing with you on this topic.