Where’s the respect?
Right off the bat I want to say — I like football. I might not be your typical fan, I’m a woman and I don’t like beer, but I do spend a good amount of my time and money on football. I have paid to join multiple fantasy football leagues and I own several player jerseys. As both a woman and a fan, I look at the way the NFL has dealt with the Ray Rice issue and ask, why isn’t the NFL interested in keeping me happy or in keeping my business?
According to an ESPN Sports Poll 44 percent of football fans are women. Female football fans are a large and growing demographic, and one that the NFL should put a bit more care into respecting. Sure when I walk into a team’s pro-shop I see female targeted items and I can buy a shirt in women’s sizes, but where, really, is the respect? If female fans represented more than dollar signs to the NFL then the league would have taken a bit more care in how they responded to the Ray Rice video. I don’t know how the league, and especially Commissioner Goodell, can claim that it was justified to only suspend Rice for two games after the first video surfaced. The first video showed Rice carrying his unconscious future wife out of an elevator. What did people imagined happened in that elevator? Did Commissioner Goodell think that Ms. Palmer suffered from a case of the vapors and had a fainting spell? No, by suspending Rice for two games they clearly knew what had happened in the elevator. But their loyalty was to Rice, and so they responded with a policy that amounted to, “Well we didn’t see him hit her so let’s not overreact here.” It doesn’t really matter if the NFL got the second tape, the one showing the actual punch, in April or yesterday. What matters is loyalty, and the NFL has shown more to Ray Rice than to it’s female fans. And the NFL should be careful. It took a lot of time and money on their part to cultivate such a large female fan base, but, if they aren’t careful, they could loose those fans faster than they anticipate.