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An open letter to the NFL from a female fan

September 09, 2014

I am one of the 45% of your fan base that is a woman. One of the many women that watches your games every season, plays fantasy football, and cheers for our favorite teams loudly on football Sunday.

Your organization has never really understood its female fan base. Most of the time it is little things like talking down to us with the obnoxious pink jerseys that you assume we all want to wear.  But sometimes it is bigger like in the case of Ray Rice and other players who are arrested for domestic violence and they receive lesser suspensions than players who violated the drug policy.   How is it that using drugs is worse than hitting a woman? Do you realize what kind of message that sends?

Domestic violence is real. Statistics show that one in four women will be a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. How many of these women do you think buy your jerseys and tickets to the games? What I think you fail to see is that by giving Rice a slap on the wrist of a 2 game suspension is that you just said that almost half of your fan base doesn't matter. It is saying that hitting your wife or girlfriend is no big deal. You are minimizing the real problems of domestic violence and abusive relationships.  Sorry I don't believe that your organization had never viewed the complete video before coming to a decision on the case. I'm not naive enough for that. You chose profit and winning records over doing what was right.

We are a country that still shames women in many ways. Rape victims are told that maybe if they hadn't drank so much or worn a revealing top, that maybe they wouldn't have been victimized. We ask what a women might have done to provoke such anger in her partner to be attacked. I'm not placing the blame on victim shaming on your organization, it is a societal issue that extends far deeper than just football. But you can take the first steps to show that relationship abuse of any kind will not be tolerated in your players. There should be zero tolerance for any players that are found guilty of domestic violence.

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