Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

  • Mr. Speaker, abuse is never okay. It can never be justified, defended or explained. However, the message that the NFL sent last week says otherwise.
  • Recently, a video emerged of Baltimore Ravens' running back, Ray Rice, dragging his unconscious then-fiancée out of an elevator after allegedly punching her in the face several times.
  • Rice was charged with third-degree aggravated assault. However, prosecutors later dropped the charge after a plea deal was reached. But what is equally as troubling and disturbing is how the NFL chose to handle the situation.
  • The league suspended Rice for two games. This pathetic punishment is just a mere slap on the wrist. The NFL has issued harsher punishments for ``offenses'' such as eating unapproved foods or taking fertility drugs without approval.
  • For better or for worse, our society idolizes its athletes. In 2013, over 108 million Americans watched Rice help the Ravens win the Super Bowl. Thousands of young Americans wore Rice's jersey with pride. After this decision, would a high school athlete think twice before pushing around his girlfriend? Would the abused girlfriend even bother to come forward?
  • Sadly, the NFL seems to be more concerned with protecting its image than taking a stand and sending a strong message that violence against women will not be tolerated.
  • Ravens' head coach, John Harbaugh, called the attack, a ``mistake.''
  • Mr. Speaker, a mistake implies an accident. Punching your fiancée until she becomes unconscious is no accident nor should it be treated that way.
  • Our society has come a long way; domestic violence was once seen as a ``family issue,'' not spoken of outside of the home. We have made some progress, but the NFL's actions show we still have a long way to go.
  • Those who commit violence against women--yes, even star football players--cannot get away with it. With the NFL's decision, another one just did. Abuse is never okay.
  • NFL greed, stardom and fame scores points over justice.
  • And that's just the way it is.