by Justin Crockett

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In the spiral of shit that this week has become regarding the NFL, Ray Rice, domestic violence discussions, and cover-up after cover-up, one thing is becoming very clear:

Our blind allegiance to our sports teams and players is becoming a dangerous thing.

In light of today’s story that the NFL indeed had the full video of Ray Rice face-fucking his fiancee with his fist with cartoonish power and speed, there are tons of questions that need to be addressed in order to restore some kind of faith in humanity.

If you haven’t been on Earth recently, here’s a recap of how the news broke, and how the news quickly shit its own pants: Ray Rice and his wife-to-be were leaving a casino, got into an elevator where something happened during the ride that made her be unconscious at its destination. That’s how the story began. The footage that accompanied the story just showed her crumpled body and Ray Rice standing there like “ehhhh what the heck?”.

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The aftermath has been viewed countless times. Ray and the missus played nice at a press conference, he apologized, got a little baby suspension that didn’t even come close to what another player got for smoking weed. So, people hated Rice a little bit, got it out of their systems, and went on with their lives. Ravens fans were torn, but accepting. What they had an issue with is that no one really knew what happened in the elevator, we just saw the end result.

Then this week, the full video came out.

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Yes that is an honest to goodness haymaker. Most people had a general idea that’s what occurred, but to actually see it was raw and unsettling. Even more unsettling was the general public not readily willing to admit what most likely happened before we saw it. This isn’t near the first instance of violence towards women by anyone, forget a sports star. So why is everyone leaping onto this story like it’s not an unfortunately-common thing that women have to deal with? And why has the NFL taken clearly-calculated steps to hide the fact that, yes, they DID have this footage seven months ago, and just crossed their fingers that it would never become public?

It seems to me, a fairly enthusiastic sports fan, that the league of course wants to protect its image. That’s not shocking. But seeing the sides that were drawn during this ordeal on social media and articles around the internet, the fans themselves clearly believe that sports teams and players belong to them in some way. The blind devotion even in the face of contradictory facts, and even the hatred that mostly prevailed(and rightly so) afterwards are the extremes that are becoming more and more common in the face of sports scandals and fiascos. Everything is so much bigger and more extravagant in these stories, that it’s making us a little meat-headed when it comes to real-life things in our real-life lives.

Do you think for one second that your neighbor would receive anywhere near the same emotions that Rice had spewed at him? Do you honestly believe that you would petition your neighborhood alliance, and take to Facebook and Twitter, and email the footage to all of your friends, and call for people’s jobs to be permanently revoked from them, if your friend Jerry had slapped his wife around a little? Why does the assailant being famous mean that we get to, or have to, care more? Why do athletes who get hit on their bodies every day for a living get put to a higher standard? And why the fuck do they keep hitting people on their days off?? Why do their wives post messages days after worldwide release of the videos, defending their husbands?

And why does the league continue to sweep these issues under the rug? If you continue to breed or allow a criminal culture, you can’t be shocked when it starts to bite you in the dick.

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