Someone put a Greg Hardy battery in my back!
I had no intention (frankly hadn’t been paying attention) to think about, nor write about Greg Hardy. And to show just how deep my disinterest was, when he first hit the news (no pun intended) I gave his actions little to none of my attention (frankly I was caught up in the Ray Rice news at the time).
I guess one could say I’m tired of pointing out what I feel is the obvious — people shouldn’t do dumb shit!
I get to sounding like a broken record when dumb people do dumb stuff.
“Don’t do that, it’s not good for you or your career.”
Too often I feel like I care more about them and how they present themselves than they do…so for the moment, I was zoned out!
So. As I was minding my own business….
…a friend txt me, “i’mma need you to write a blog post about this Greg Hardy mess!”
My response: “I haven’t even been following. lol. Let me go do some reading.”
And read, I did.
And notes, I did take.
My thoughts, I tried to unpack. And unpack. And unpack. Because, as I read this, that and the other, related threads kept popping up.
So, here’s my attempt to address…
It is pretty simple, on the surface — shut the #%&@ up! (My mother would be mad that I’m using that language — she’s never approved of the phrase.)
Seriously, dude!!! Just shut up…because the only things that should be coming out of your mouth, from now until eternity are:
‘I will do/be better.’
‘I’m here to play.’
‘Thank you for giving me another chance!’
Oh…And, the grunts and other audibles (sounds of air entering and leaving your lungs/mouth) as you execute plays.
I purposely left out the reflections on how much he learned from, and internalized all the domestic violence education and counseling — for the obvious reasons…
Duh…he didn’t internalize it…
It could be as simple as: he doesn’t give AF.
As sad as: he doesn’t see the correlation between his prior behavior and any of the words that came out of his mouth.
Or as complicated as: what Jerry Jones’ response is indicative of — the relationship between men and women, who owns who et al, is truly in its infancy of being sorted out. Which really complicates the unpacking. And yes, there’s even a racial component that can be thrown in if we pay close attention.
Because of a moral/social center, we believe that no “decent” person would talk “poorly” about another or disrespect or act unprofessionally or any of the other characterizations that have been made about what Hardy said (and his prior acts).
That coupled with his fame and profession, and a host of other things, we expect him to act a certain way, and care about what “we” think he should care about.
It’s the premise of CNN’s Rachel Nicohls’ post on the subject — most people are decent. And then some just aren’t. And in reality that has NOTHING to do with sports, that’s life.
It’s easy to conclude that Hardy is a horrible person. Not so sure that’s the right thing to do considering I don’t know him. But I certainly can’t help but question that. As well as question whether he really cares what “we” think…I’m guessing mostly not.
And so, if he doesn’t give AF…they he’s a lost cause. And his days are numbered, because murphy’s law says he will repeat his actions…God forbid.
I’m questioning whether he understood/stands the correlation between not putting your hands on a woman, and it not being ok to objectify them (and whether he understands that what he said was objectifying and why that’s not cool)….or reference, even in a turn of phrase, guns, for the obvious reasons.
Not because I’m questioning his intelligence…this is a nuanced thing…
Not everyone thinks about language the way I do…every word that comes out of my mouth is thought out…and as much as I’d like people (especially those who have public facing jobs) to choose every word carefully, understanding the potential impact, it’s just not the case.
We could, like Nicholls, question the heft of the domestic violence program the NFL put together.
And to go further, whether the language and approach taken in the program takes cultural nuance into consideration, as well as whether any sort of life skills program can just be used universally (in a one hour seminar or a six month program) to address learned behavior…learned and reinforced all one’s life.
Life skills programming too often is “one size fits all” — and it really shouldn’t be. How I receive and internalize information and understand how it can and should be applied to my life (if I buy into it) is going to be different than the next person.
Same goes for someone who believes something and then ultimately is forced into taking a class(es)…there are many variables. So a cookie cutter program, won’t cut it!
So, if I give Hardy the benefit of the doubt, that somewhere in him, he gives AF, that lesson, may not have been understood.
So Hardy basically says — I like looking at Giselle’s a** etc….(to get to the heart of it)…
Jerry Jones says — I respect Brady ‘cuz he bagged Gisselle wit her a** etc…
And everyone clutched their pearls.
Because it’s wrong to objectify women? (Of course)…
Because it’s wrong for a Black Man to look at a white woman longingly? (Don’t even want to talk about how disgusted I am that a Black Boy was suspended in Ohio and a judge upheld the suspension for staring at a white girl..cuz then Imma start talking about Emmett Till)
I’m not surprised, nor should you.
Let’s be real here. Just like with racism, it takes much longer to reprogram people’s thinking — generations, upon generations, upon generations. Not hours. Not days. Not weeks. Not Months.
If we apply the dating rule — length of time you dated, divided by 2 equals how long it will take u to get over the former love of your life — to deprogramming racism and women as objects/lesser beings…using 1630s as our base (for those slow at the draw, that’s when the first of the 13 colonies were established). That’s 385 years / 2 = 192 years. And let’s use a mean of 20 and 25 yrs. per generation = 22.5yrs per = ~9 generations to get to absolute reversal.
If…so much of the movement towards real life, day-to-day equal rights for women happened in the 60s and 70s…we are basically looking at only 50ish years-2 generations of attempted “righting” a nation’s consciousness. (And yes, I’m only looking at the United States cuz I’d like to be able to believe it’s possible that “my children’s, children’s, children could witness real, solid change in how we look at and treat women.)
What am I talking about? (The disengaged and less than really interested are wondering…)
I’m talking about, just like the Civil Rights Movement was just 50 years ago…and Apartheid ended 21 years ago…The fight for Women’s Rights and discrimination against women is ongoing…
Just a little bit of recent women’s history…
- Women allowed to attend Ivy League schools
- Women allowed to take the Pill
- Women allowed to successfully file for divorce
- Women allowed to serve on juries
- Women allowed to get credit cards
- Women allowed to get abortions
- Women allowed to work pregnant
- Women nationally allowed to refuse her husband sex
To this day, there is no National rape law…
ok. Ok. OK!
So…do we see how deeply seated this mess is? And I didn’t even go into the when women stopped “legally” being property. Nor did I put color/race on it. Nor did I go into southern, northern or Caribbean, social/cultural elements!
How and why can we really be surprised by Hardy or Matt Barnes (yes, him too), Jerry Jones and the laundry list of Black and white men in sports (the microcosm that it is). How and why do we expect them to believe, think, behave in a way, wholesale, that holds women in high regard, if no one else does?!?! (Because this is NOT a sports problem…this is an EVERYONE problem)
I don’t usually publicly/loudly beat my (Black) feminism drum. But there’s no way to really look at this, at the root of the problem, and not.
I’d love to believe it’s possible to change the mind of someone who has been taught to behave this or that way over the course of 27, 35, 72 years (of age)(respectively) that my way of thinking or the moral/social construct we “now” live by, is the way! Especially when it’s clear to me that they really don’t give AF! Because if they did, they would want to change for themselves and the women in their lives, in the least.
It’s just not that simple.
And while it may sound like I’m without hope. I am disheartened and disappointed…to be clear…I am saddened by these behaviors and what they are indicative of.
It may even sound like I’m letting them off the hook because “it’s so complex”…I’m not. Don’t get it twisted.
I have the keen ability to be mad and sad and see the complexity and have some sort of empathy all that the same time!
But, I am realistic about what it is and the time it will take to clear the slate.
To get past the 9 generations / nearly 200 years (optimistically), to full and complete reversal (even more optimistically) of a way of thinking, that in reality, has been engrained in our minds/ways of life for hundreds, thousands of years…in this country (and every other one)…is simply, complicated.
But again, don’t get me twisted.
It. Is. NECESSARY.
The line between the professional and the personal in these issues is a fine one.
Whether you work in the mailroom or in the corner office, on the field or own the team, how you present yourself and your innermost beliefs need to align with certain standards: socially constructed and professionally instituted.
And considering that my being able to just impose my will on these men (that I don’t know) isn’t likely. Remember, your jobs are “at will.” These leagues will not stand by (any longer) and allow you to tarnish their earnings. Women make up nearly half those watching football…wonder what your salaries (if you still had them) would look like without that 45 percent.
So, whether Hardy and the band of merry men are good, bad or ignorant/indifferent, doesn’t really matter…they need to be held to a standard. Not just because they are famous and/or paid an enormous amount of money.
But, because….in the simplest framing:
We are not your property.
We are not to be handled physically in a harmful way.
Our bodies are our own.
We are not to be treated or talked about/to in any way less than the most respectful.
Must I go on?