You Always Hurt the One You Love

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Whenever my siblings would fight, my mother would sing the old Forties standard, “You Always Hurt the One You Love.” While our daily squabbles amused my mom, there is nothing funny about how apropos those lyrics seem today.

Every day in the news, it seems, I read about a new allegation involving an NFL football player and domestic violence. Last week I wrote about the plight of Janay Rice, whose husband knocked her out cold with a vicious punch in the face. This week the spotlight is on Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who has been accused of child abuse in the whipping of his 4-year-old son that resulted in lacerations needing medical attention. Just today, another allegation surfaced that Peterson also hit a different child while the child was in a car seat, once again causing injury.

These are just the two most prominent cases of domestic violence confronting the NFL at the present time. And the NFL cases are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to incidents of spouse and child abuse. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, “More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.[vi]” (http://www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics/)

The statistics on child abuse are equally troubling. “More than four children die every day as a result of child abuse,” according to ChildHelp.org. (Statistic comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.) Furthermore, also according to government sources, having been abused as a child increases the chances of being incarcerated, developing drug or alcohol dependency, and becoming an abuser later in life.  Clearly, the problems of family violence are much bigger than the issues confronting the NFL today.

Yet the NFL could lead the way by refusing to allow abusers to play in the league, providing resources for the families of NFL players, and offering counseling and education to prevent family violence. The reach of professional sports is vast. Football is arguably the most popular American sport these days. If NFL officials had the courage of their convictions and made domestic violence anathema in America, maybe ordinary men and women would be inspired to seek the help they need to have happy, healthy families.

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8 thoughts on “You Always Hurt the One You Love

    • I’ve heard and read this argument a lot lately, but I just don’t buy it. Men have been playing football for decades, but that doesn’t make them inherently more violent. My sweet Frankie doesn’t go around punching people, for instance.

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      • Football has changed a great deal since the early days, when players could get away with a leather helmet. And high school football is nothing like the pros. The rules are different. In addition, a great number of these players use “enhancing” drugs that are known to cause rage. The players are encouraged to be tough, to work through pain, to work through injury, including broken bones. Every current fan I know comments on how violent the game is. Players are hired to do damage. That has to have an effect off the field as well. It’s not that football makes the men more violent, but that football has become violent and teams are looking for players who have no problem with it.

        I do believe there is a cultural component to the most recent cases. I can only be sorry that Janay didn’t feel safe pressing charges. I, personally, think these issues should be dealt with by the police.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Very thoughtful comments, Janice. I think you are right. The game at the pro level certainly has gotten more violent with more vicious hits being encouraged. There was also a study years ago that showed women were abused during and after football games more than average. Scary.

    Liked by 1 person

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