When Floyd Mayweather hits you in the back of the head, the bruises won’t show, but they’re real.
Beneath the Surface is peeling back the layers of this onion we call sports.
When the most celebrated boxer of his generation hits a woman on the back of the head, the bruises won’t show.
Floyd Mayweather is three days away from the biggest fight of his career. A bout with Manny Pacquiao that’s been in the works for more than six years. The only problem is, no matter who wins the fight, ‘Money’ Mayweather always seems to come out on top.
He stood over her and punched her in the back of the head, giving her a concussion, his ex-girlfriend and mother of three of his children. And yet, the only thing people seem to talk about is the fact that he is going to make $100 million on this fight Saturday.
Domestic violence has long been a problem in our culture, and much like any problem, outlets with the power to create real influence on an issue turn a blind eye.
There are long and detailed reports of his serial violence against women. Not just women he was in a relationship with, at least an intimate one, just ask the two women he fought in a Vegas nightclub.
The issue of violence in sports goes way beyond Ray Rice, but much like the difference between the Eric Garner and Michael Brown tragedies, with Rice, there was video. And it was disturbing video, like something you’d see in a James Wan film.
We, as a society, don’t process violence the way we used to process violence. Thirty years ago it was unheard of to see human remains on a newscast, but just last night it was woven into the coverage of the earthquake in Nepal. It’s happened slowly but surely. We’ve become desensitized in the name of entertainment, often shadowing it under the cloak of being informed. In the case of sports, we’ve hidden behind the curtain of entertainment.
If Floyd Mayweather were a professional athlete in any other sport he’d be out of a job. Likely left to hide in some corner gym in Las Vegas training up-and-comers, trying to relive his glory days vicariously. Or maybe his ego couldn’t handle something so low, who knows?
The question I keep asking myself is this, how have we let this man become one of the wealthiest athletes to ever live?
It’s our fault.
According to a study conducted by the National Coalition Against Violent Athletes:
“Male athletes comprise of 3.3 percent of the population (at all levels of sport) yet this demographic is responsible for 19 percent of sexual assault perpetrators and 35 percent of domestic violence perpetrators.”
There is no excuse, but there is a reason, and the reason is that we ignore it. We, collectively, ignore the issue of violence from athletes because there’s an emotional contradiction. We have an attachment to our sports and our teams. And for the sake seeing our teams win at all costs, we are willing to spend the minimal amount of time talking about this issue.
Think back to how much time we spent talking about Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg. Weeks. We talked about that incident for weeks. How dangerous it was for him to be carrying a weapon in a club and how he violated New York gun laws, and he shot himself in the leg.
The bruises won’t show.
All of this is leading us to a place where violence is going to be treated like marijuana possession. As long as it’s less than an ounce, who cares? We’re going to shovel the issue into a hole long enough and then we’re going to look up ten, fifteen years from now and realize we’ve given immunity to sports icons.
Mayweather draws the largest viewership of any athlete in history. He’s been at the top of his sport for well over a decade and we’ve allowed him to continue his ascent, all in the name of ‘seeing greatness’. In the name of being entertained.
The bruises won’t show, but we are concussed.
We’re hemorrhaging on the inside because we’ve let this happen. Have we gone too far to stop it? I sure hope not.
Photo: Flickr/Prize Fights.com
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