Another NFL Player Arrested for Domestic Violence

[Content Note: Domestic violence; misogyny.]

Yesterday, Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer was arrested on domestic violence and aggravated assault charges. He has charged with "one count of aggravated assault causing a fracture, one count aggravated assault involving a minor, two counts of criminal damage, one count of preventing the use of a phone in an emergency, and assault."
He was immediately deactivated by the NFL team.

"We became aware of these allegations this afternoon when notified by the Phoenix police and are cooperating fully," the Cardinals said in a statement release on their verified twitter account. "Given the serious nature of the allegations we have taken the immediate step to deactivate Jonathan from all team activities. We will continue to closely monitor this as it develops and evaluate additional information as it become available."

The incidents involved a 27-year-old female and an 18-month old child. The incidents occurred on July 21 and July 22.
Shortly afterward, according to police, "the victim left the state with their child," and a report was filed with Phoenix Police Department on September 11, at which time the investigation began.

I don't know why the report was delayed, but I wonder if perhaps seeing, via the Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Adrian Peterson cases, that she might have a chance of being taken seriously, the victim decided to come forward. That is the power of publicly and meaningfully addressing domestic violence cases.

Which is not to say there is not a long, long way to go. Via my friend Dr. Gray, this interview with actor, activist, survivor of childhood abuse, and former NFL player Terry Crews shines a light on how difficult it is and will continue to be to address domestic violence among professional football players:
"The NFL culture, the sports culture, has decided that they are more valuable than women," Crews believes. "I've heard people laugh about keeping their pimp hand strong and keeping her in control so that she knows her place. But think about how evil that is for one man to think that he's actually more valuable than a woman, because as a human being your worth is immeasurable."

And even when Crews takes a stand against domestic violence, he is met with negative comments. "Because of my stance on domestic violence and standing [up] for women I have tons of men coming at me like 'You are a punk, you are a punk, look at you, get your skirt and go pop your pecks somewhere.' ...This is the mentality I'm talking about, the challenge, the male pride. ...Pride is a thing that kills you. ...Male pride is so tough that they feel that any time a woman back talks it's they'd rather die than stand for that, than actually have a women tell them what's up and then they would say, 'Okay, you know what, I got to hit her. I got to lash out.'"
They'd rather die than stand for that. They'd rather kill than stand for it, too.

Which goes back to what Crews said, and what we talk about around here all the time: Privilege is dangerous. Supremacist thinking is dangerous. Dehumanization is dangerous. Failing to view another human as your equal, failing to acknowledge and respect their humanity, is dangerous.

You don't imagine someone who is your equal is "back talking" you. You don't justify hurting someone who is your equal with wounded pride, because evidence of their humanity is an affront to your dominion.

Privilege is toxic.

And, the truth is, we need to take a long, hard look at celebrating a game that is deeply rooted in and profoundly encouraging of aggressive masculinity. We ask these players to conform to stereotypes of toxic masculinity; we oblige them to spend their entire lives immersed in a culture of toxic masculinity; we turn our heads away when they take drugs that make them stronger and tangentially more prone to rage; we treat with indifference the head injuries they sustain, which can affect judgment and impulse control; we pay them enormous sums of money to play, in front of cheering crowds, an aggressive sport that consists primarily of bashing into other men to physically achieve their objective of winning; we shame them when they fail to be sufficiently aggressive; and then we expect them to turn off the "smash to win" impulse they spend most of their lives perfecting, the moment they walk off the field.

We reward them handsomely for demonstrations of physical aggression on the field, and then we hold them uniquely, exclusively, individually responsible when they do the same thing off the field.

Maybe we need to ask ourselves, as a culture, if we're really okay with asking women and children to continue to pay the price for our entertainment.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus