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.