De’Andre Johnson Ethics Quiz: Is It Ever Ethical For A Male Athlete To Punch A Woman?

deandre

Nineteen year-old De’Andre Johnson was kicked off the Florida State team after “The Tallahassee Democrat” obtained a video showing Johnson punching a young woman in the face in an altercation at a bar in June. He has also been charged with battery. Johnson’s lawyer says that woman was taunting him with racial epithets and hit him twice before he punched her.

Lawyer Jose Baez told NBC News that Johnson “tried to deescalate the situation” but the woman “kneed him in the groin area” and “took another swing before he retaliated.”  “It wasn’t until she struck him twice that he reacted,” Baez said. “But he is very regretful that he didn’t turn around and walk away immediately.” Baez added, however that his client “makes no excuses for what happened.”

The video above does not seem to support Johnson’s defense, but never mind.  After the Ray Rice episode, no football player who lays a hand on a woman in anger will be able to avoid severe punishment. All athletes, and football players particularly, are on notice that as far as hitting women goes, it is strict liability unless the men’s lives are in danger, and maybe not even then.

But hypothetically, I’m curious. Racial epithets are fighting words. If a black athlete punched a white man, even a much smaller white man, after racial abuse and a knee to the groin, there would probably be no charges filed, and not much criticism either. How different, if different at all, should the ethical judgement be if the individual engaging in the abuse is a woman? What if she shows no signs of stopping unless she is physically stopped? What if she looks like this…

Gina Davis

 

Or. say, THIS…

Katka2

Or even this…

hope-solo

Hope is over six feet tall, you’ll recall and is rumored to have a penchant for striking people off the athletic field.

Thus your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is this:

Is it always unethical for  any male athlete to punch any woman in a situation not involving the male’s mortal peril?

ADDENDUM…lest we forget: what if the woman is this former Olympic medal winner…

caitlyn-jenner

?

 

No More And The Ethics Of Awareness

NO-MORE-MUG-11ozI was aware of the flimsiness of No More, the NFL’s designated mouth piece to show that it cares about domestic violence, when I recently reviewed the Super Bowl ads. It wasn’t the place to raise the issue, but now Deadspin writer Diana Moskovitz had done so in explosive fashion, in a piece called “No More, The NFL’s Domestic Violence Partner, Is A Sham.”

I think “sham” is a bit harsh, but her point is well-taken: the organization doesn’t really do anything to stop domestic violence. Its sole goal is to raise awareness of the problem by creating a “brand” that can be plastered on t-shirts, coffee mugs, mouse pads, stickers and tote bags. Oh—there’s also a pledge you can take. That’s about it. If you expected that the organization giving us the frightening ad featuring the terrified woman calling 911 was more than this, I guess “sham” may be fair. “Scam” may even be fair.

As Moslkovitz explains with barely restrained anger, No More is all about PR and feeling virtuous. It was inspired by the AIDS ribbons, which in turn were inspired by the yellow ribbons people wore to show support for the Iranian hostages in 1979, which in turn were inspired by…a Tony Orlando and Dawn song. As with Michelle Obama’s hashtag appeal to brutal Nigerian terrorists, none of these symbolic efforts are substantive, but they do make the good, caring people who perform them feel like they are solving a problem. Of course, they aren’t. Moskovitz:

“You know why they are doing this? Because it works. Because it makes money. Because we love pretending to care, especially when a brand makes it easier for us to do by removing all the pain, horror, darkness, and self-reflection and turning concern for others into products—preferably ones that can be worn. Do those teenage boys wearing “I Heart Boobies” really care about breast cancer? Probably not, but at least they’re thinking about it, right? And even if they don’t think about it, they generated money (a nickel on the dollar, maybe, but better than nothing) for a good cause!

This is how low our standards are. Gesture toward a good cause and you’re practically unassailable. No More gave Goodell and the NFL a cheap and perfect way out of a public relations disaster and we shouldn’t be surprised. We do the exact same thing every day when we throw on our Toms, our pink baseball hats, and our latest rubber bracelet of choice, shopping our way into another day with pure hearts and clean consciences.”

Continue reading

The Sixth Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2014 (Part 2)

Rice and Janay

Ethics Corrupter of the Year

(Awarded to the unethical public figure whose prominence, popularity and success most corrupts the public’s ethical values)

Janay Palmer Rice, beloved punching bag of NFL star Ray Rice, who was caught on camera smooching with her man shortly after being cold-cocked by him in a hotel elevator, married him, and has repeatedly defended her husband, prompting confused female pundits to defend her. She is not only the embodiment of Rationalization #42. The Hillary Inoculation, or “If he/she doesn’t care, why should anyone else?”, she is also a good bet to get some young women killed by giving them a role model who stands for standing by your abusive man with the hard right hook.

Double Standard Of The Year

In a year of double standards, the treatment of soccer star (and accused child abuser) Hope Solo by her sport, feminists, the media and the public takes the prize. The standard, as I understand it, is that big, strong female athletes can beat up smaller, weaker family members with impunity, and it’s no big deal, but when a male athlete does the same, he is scum. Got it.

Uncivil U.S. Official of the Year

Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and the top American diplomat in Europe, was caught saying in a viral Youtube video saying “Fuck the EU.”  Now that’s diplomatic. Of course, she wasn’t fired, because she works for the Obama Administration

The Jesse Jackson Award 

(For the Year’s Worst Amateur Diplomat)

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First Lady Michelle Obama, who helped her husband make the U.S. look weak and ineffectual (he needs no help), by engaging in this ridiculous effort at hashtag diplomacy. Those kidnapped girls were never found, and Boko Haram, the Nigerian terrorist group that took them, I learned today, just killed a reported 2000 more victims. Time for another sad picture, Michelle!

Most Unethical Sports League

The NFL, last year’s winner, was even more unethical this year, with the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson fiascos, Commissioner Roger Goodell showing no innate instinct for right and wrong and both the league and its teams making up rules and policies according to talk show calls, polls and wet fingers in the air. Meanwhile, it’s still making billions paying young men to lobotomize themselves. What a great sport.

Sports Cheat of the Year

Alex Rodriguez, suspended Yankee star, had denied, denied, denied, threatened to sue Major League Baseball and the union, and insisted that he had not, as an investigation had determined, used performance enhancing drugs supplied by Biogenesis. Then, just as his season-long suspension was lifted, it was revealed that A-Rod had, under oath, admitted using steroids from 2010 to 2012.

Annual Sports Ethics Controversy That Gets Worse Every Year

Steroid cheats (like Rodriquez) and their fitness for admission to Baseball’s Hall of Fame

Unethical Lawyer of the Year

Michael Fine, the Ohio lawyer who allegedly hypnotized female clients in order to sexually molest them.  Runner Up Alexa Van Brunt. She didn’t do anything unethical; she just advocates ethics rules that would eliminate the core of legal ethics, proving that she doesn’t understand her own profession.

Unethical Judge of the Year

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Wade McCree, the handsome devil pictured above (he circulated this selfie), who, presiding over a felony child-support case, conducted a secret sexual relationship with the woman seeking support from the defendant. This was just the latest of his embarrassments.  Runner up: Texas District Judge Jeanine Howard, who handed down a stunningly lenient sentence of probation and 250 hours of community service at a rape crisis center for a man who confessed raping a 14-year old girl at her school.

 

Unethical National Broadcast Journalist Of The Year

CNN’s Carol Costello. She was biased, smug and incompetent all year long, but reached her nadir when she gleefully played a recording of Bristol Palin explaining to police how she had been assaulted, saying to her viewers, “You can thank me later.” She refused to apologize on the air, or to Palin. Continue reading

American Journalism’s Integrity Death Spiral, PART III: The Biased Rationalization for Liberal Media Bias Of Biased Liberal Blogger Josh Marshall, Who Doesn’t Understand the Concept Of “Bias” And Thus Both Excuses, Enables And Embodies It

computer-created_spiral

There wasn’t going to be a Part III to this theme until I stumbled upon a stunning post by popular liberal blogger Josh Marshall (no relation, I think, though my Dad claimed that all Marshalls were related) that 1) defended CNN Carol Costello’s despicable glee at a tape of Sarah Palin’s daughter describing what she said was an assault by a man, and 2) added an explanation for news media bias that blames Fox News, a neat, if stupid, piece of logical pretzel-making.

It’s an amazing post, one which should make any objective reader wonder how deep a rational writer could be sunk into ideological cement to author this and not realize how self-rebutting it is. Marshall shoots himself in the groin at the very beginning, using Costello’s unprofessional attack on Bristol Palin as an example of how paranoid the right is:

“So now, liberals, the media, Democrats, apparently anyone who thinks Palin is a buffoon of almost world historic proportions (which gets you to something like 80% of the country) are all abominable hypocrites for ‘laughing’ at what is now fairly preposterously portrayed as a violent assault against a woman. If you listen to the police interviews, which occurred just as the brawl had barely ended, all the witnesses beside Bristol said she attacked the homeowner. Indeed, even Bristol’s younger sister Willow backed up the these other witnesses’ account. She just said Bristol missed with her punches.”

The buffoon here is Marshall, and he’s misrepresenting what Costello did. She didn’t introduce the tape by pointing out what other witnesses said. She may not even have known about the police reports (which I have read, and they are not at all conclusive, which is why no charges were filed.) She just introduced an emotional recording of a young woman recounting how she was attacked, and said it was so enjoyable that her audience was obligated to thank her. It doesn’t matter what the facts were or turned out to be. What was outrageous was Costello displaying enjoyment at another human being’s distress, because it was Sarah Palin’s daughter. Marshall’s defense is also ignorant of context, not that he cares. Last month, Costello had angrily encouraged ESPN to suspend commentator Stephen A. Smith because he had suggested, in light of the Ray Rice-Janay Rice brawl video, that women who attack men in part bring abuse upon themselves. Now Marshall is saying that Costello’s lack of sympathy for Bristol Palin is justified because she allegedly tried to punch her assailant, but missed. Janay Rice didn’t miss, you know. Then again, she isn’t the daughter of a political figure Marshall and Costello detest.

Thus even before he offered his denial of left-media bias, Marshall had outed himself as a practitioner. Then he wrote this:

“Conservatives in the ’70s and ’80s looked at the mainstream media and saw it as liberal and against them. That was largely bogus but not entirely. The mid-late 20th century elite ‘media’ did generally buy into a series of cosmopolitan assumptions about public and private life. That worldview generally aligns more with liberalism than conservatism, but the two are by no means identical. And this did shape coverage in significant ways. But many conservatives genuinely believed that most people in media were and are little different from Democratic political operatives writing propaganda. So when they went to create “their” media, that’s basically what they created, a propaganda network.”

Marshall’s hallmark is making nonsense sound reasonable, and he outdoes himself here. Do you know what “buying into a series of cosmopolitan assumptions about public and private life” is called? Bias, that’s what. Marshall, true to his liberal-biased soul, frames this as just intelligence, education and sophistication, which is what the liberal elite use “cosmopolitan” to mean. It’s not bias! It’s just the truth, as smart people understand it, and dumb, redneck hicks don’t!

As Marshall appears not to grasp—and who knows? Maybe he doesn’t—bias arises from the acceptance of prior assumptions that prevent objective analysis and fair balancing of objectives, facts and opinions. Conservatives looked at the mainstream media and saw news content, news coverage, punditry and opinion journalism being determined by a profession that was over 80% registered Democrats and otherwise liberal, and dominated by people like Costello and Marshall, who were so far left that everything right of them, including moderate political positions, looked deranged and illegitimate. Conservatives (and objective liberals too)  saw bias, because bias is what there was. Marshall seems to think that bias has to be intentional and malicious to qualify as bias: he doesn’t understand the concept, which may explain why he doesn’t see how biased he is. The reason bias is so insidious is that the sufferer is often completely unaware of the bias, especially when, as in most mainstream journalism organizations, everyone suffers from the same biases. Continue reading

So A Female Democrat Running To Be Governor Can Use A Former Domestic Abuser As A Spokeperson, But Feminists Would Revolt If A Pro Football Player Who Did The Same To His Spouse Was Allowed To Take The Field? Got it. Wait…No, I Really Don’t.

Go ahead, it's OK...he's a man, he probably deserves it.

Go ahead, it’s OK…he’s a man, he probably deserves it.

I realize that it seems like I am picking on women who are running for high office as Democrats: this is the third one within a week. It’s a coincidence, except that I have a growing suspicion that Democrats cynically sought out some female candidates for their gender and to hew to a theme rather than because they were especially well-qualified or even ready for prime time.

The current issue involves the Wisconsin governor’s race, where Mary Burke is opposing controversial, public union-battling GOP incumbent Scott Walker. Burke is running a 15-second pro-abortion ad (Walker is anti-abortion)  starring Erin Forrest,  the Jefferson County Democratic Party chairwoman. In 2013, Forrest — who then called Erin Sievert, was charged with two misdemeanor counts of domestic abuse, the first for battery and the second for disorderly conduct. In the criminal complaint, her husband said that she punched him in the eye and the groin, bit him on the shoulder, and ripped out one of his earrings. Prosecutors offered Forrest a deferred prosecution agreement in which she pleaded guilty to the charges in exchange for having them dropped later if she avoided further legal trouble and met other requirements. She did, and the prosecutors had the domestic violence charges dismissed as agreed.

Still, she agreed, by pleading guilty, that the charges were valid and described her conduct. This is far more than several of the NFL players currently losing millions of dollars and being pilloried in the media as violent lovers and vicious parents have done. Hmmm…..for which job is spousal violence more disqualifying? Throttling large athletes in armor who are paid to be clobbered and being a celebrated hero to sports fans, or being a women’s rights advocate, a role model for young women, and a representative of a candidate for Governor of Wisconsin? Continue reading

Slate’s Amanda Hess’s Very, Very Embarrassing Essay About Why It’s “Very, Very Stupid To Compare Hope Solo To Ray Rice”

Fa11 _WT_Hope AL Portrait_RGB.JPG

A Forbes  columnist wrote a clumsy essay that managed to make it sound like all incidents of campus sexual abuse were the fault of co-eds who can’t hold their liquor. It was almost instantly taken down, and he was sacked in disgrace, for some opinions are just not fit for open debate in politically correct America, it seems. Self-censorship is the order of the day, or fear the wrath of the War on Women Warriors. You can read the piece here: in my view, there was enough that was thought-provoking in it to allow the dumb and offensive parts to be taken care of by astute commenters, critics and bloggers. But women are the new unassailable icons right now (oh my God, I nearly wrote “sacred cows”! My career just flashed before my eyes…). It will be fascinating to see how long this delicate and fanciful balance can be maintained in the culture without someone breaking out in uncontrollable giggles: women are equal in every way to men, but are too pristine and delicate to accept or endure criticism of any kind, and if you dare offend them, you are toast.

Around the same time Forbes was declaring Bill Frezza’s essay a blight on humanity, Slate’s Amanda Hess was posting a column of at least equivalent nonsense content, and I would argue, more embarrassing. It is a desperate plea for a distaff double standard regarding domestic violence, responding to articles like mine, pointing out that soccer star Hope Solo is garnering faint condemnation for the pending charges against her, while the same sports writers and social commentators ignoring her are attacking the  National Football League and its several abusers, alleged abusers, and charged abusers with gusto. Hess calls her opus “No, Women’s Soccer Does Not Have a Domestic Violence Problem, Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice. If this didn’t guarantee a ticket to spend a lonely weekend with Frezza lamenting the end of their gigs, nothing will. Slate disgraced itself by publishing it, because it adds nothing to the public debate regarding domestic abuse except rationalizations, excuses, and of course, the exalted double standard that women can do no wrong, or at least no wrong anyone should get upset about.

Before I expose the utter dishonesty and incompetence of Hess’s essay, let me just state for the record why I and anyone else who is objective and paying attention compares Solo to Rice (and the other NFL players recently disciplined), or to be more precise, compares the obligation of U.S. Soccer to treat its accused abusers exactly like the NFL is doing now: Continue reading

Stupid Conservative Talk Radio Host Tricks ( Ray Rice Ethics Train Wreck Division)

rushs-foot-in-mouth-problem

Believe it or not, many conservative radio talk show hosts can be insightful, erudite, analytical and fair. Unfortunately, even the smartest of them have an unfortunate tendency to let their deep-seated ideology lead them to undermine their credibility when an objective analysis might force them to agree that in a particular matter, their most reviled progressive foes are right. The repulsive recent effort by the conservative talkers to paint the NFL and its various woman and/or child-beating players as victims of a political correctness campaign is a  vivid example.

This kind of thing is why so many people hate you who have never listened to your show, Rush. You have nobody to blame but yourself.

I’m going to ignore Sean Hannity, who actually took off his belt and smacked it on his desk to show how he was raised to be the virtuous, patriotic, narrow-minded, low-brow pundit he is today. Both Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin, however, who are capable of making coherent arguments, cannot similarly plead intellectual dysfunction like Hannity: they are capable of better. Yet they spent time on their programs defending the NFL from the “liberal media smear” that the NFL is “full of criminals … wife beaters, sexual abusers, murderers, rapists.” It’s not true! In fact, studies show that the rate of violent crime in the NFL is less than that of the general population! Continue reading

Ray Rice Ethics Train Wreck Update: Now The NFL Is Validating Gender Bigots

Men vs Women: Come on--who would YOU trust?

Men vs Women: Come on–who would YOU trust?

When Roger Goodell and the NFL do  something right in the metastasizing Ray Rice-Adrian Peterson-Who Else Will It Be Tomorrow?-We Don’t Care About Domestic Violence Or Child-Beating But Our Sponsors Think We Should So We’ll Pretend To fiasco, do let me know.

Among the more sinister botches was the league’s cynical PR move of appointing four women to explain to him and the other suits that it’s really bad for a sport that sells role models and heroes to have those key products smacking around small children and women. Anna Isaacson, the NFL’s vice president of community affairs and philanthropy, was given an expanded role as vice president of social responsibility. Lisa Friel, the former head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney’s Office; NO MORE co-founder Jane Randel; and Rita Smith, the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, were also hired to address the problem, which, as everybody should know, only that kinder, more generous, more nurturing, rational and generally more civilized gender even recognizes as a problem.

This is female superiority fantasy, of course, but the media and, naturally, women themselves are grabbing it and running for the goal line. On this morning’s Sunday talking head blab-fests, I must have heard six or seven pundits, most of them women but not all, take a breather from their non-stop condemnation of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to express relief that women were finally on the scene to straighten things out for their poor, idiot brothers.

There is no indication, anywhere, that men are less capable of comprehending what is wrong with domestic violence, more rational in dealing with it than women, or more competent to analyze the issue: Continue reading

Double Standard Files (Ray Rice Ethics Train Wreck Folder): Why Is Hope Solo Still On The Soccer Field?

Solo abuse

I am certainly in agreement with the cultural standard that the NFL is being forced, kicking and screaming, to define, that standard being that the professional sports organizations should not give the American public the opportunity to cheer physical abusers of domestic partners and children. ( The latest in the purge here.) Professional athletes are paid heroes, and we must choose our heroes well: they can inspire, but they also corrupt. It is not too much to ask athletes being paid millions, who have their faces and names emblazoned on merchandise, their forms plastered on children’s walls and their fame and popularity used to sell shoes and breakfast cereal, to model decent behavior. In fact, it is essential. The NFL’s corporate sponsors understand this even if the violence-addicted fools who run the league itself do not. (See: Cognitive Dissonance).

Will other respectable professional sports—the NBA, Major League Baseball, the NHL, the PGA—have to follow football’s reluctant lead? I don’t see how they can avoid it. It will be interesting to see how the lesser sports, like professional bowling, and grittier, the macho sports like ultimate fighting and NASCAR handle this. It may well be that the definition of a respectable sport in this country will include whether it continues to promote stars who punch their family members and lovers in their faces and beat their illegitimate children with tree branches. To which I say, good. It’s a start.

That leaves the perplexing mystery, however, of Hope Solo.

Surely you know Hope. She is the tall, beautiful, sexy, outspoken female U.S. soccer star, one of the top goalies in the sport, who has won two Olympic gold medals and is one of the best known celebrities in the supposedly burgeoning sport the rest of the world calls football. She was on “Dancing With The Stars;” she posed nude in “ESPN Magazine’s “body issue.” She’s making sports page headlines on the field regularly, just like Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice. Last Saturday, for example, the United States women’s soccer team beat Mexico 8-0  in Utah, with Solo passing goalie Briana Scurry for the U.S. shutout record. She is also an alleged abuser. Solo was arrested and has been charged with two counts of misdemeanor domestic violence in the assault of her sister and 17-year-old nephew,and is awaiting trial in November. Photos of the injuries to Solo’s sister and nephew were published in the news media (above–that’s Hope on the right). Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week : NPR Sports Commentator Frank Deford On Football, Values and Brains

football-brain-injury-symptoms

“A new study shows that almost one-third of NFL players will suffer long-term cognitive problems. Granted, that’s professionals, but obviously younger brains are at jeopardy on all gridirons. What mother or father can any longer willfully allow a son to play such a game with such odds? Verdict: Football is dangerous to your brain.”

NPR Sports commentator Frank Deford, in his weekly commentary, this time focusing on the deteriorating reputation and public image of pro football, and how football fans, so far at least, don’t seem to care.

It’s dangerous to your brain in more ways than one.

The NFL Vikings, for example, having decided first that sitting out one game with pay was sufficient to punishment for their star running back who beat his four-year-old son black and blue, then reinstating him for the next game, apparently on the theory that it had thrown a bone to critics, then pulled him off the roster again following new reports of an old story, involving Adrian Peterson allegedly beating another toddler son. (Peterson spreads his seed far and wide and with great generosity and abandon, having an estimated seven or more children with an equal number of unmarried women. The NFL and NFL fans have never shown any disapproval of this irresponsibility conduct, of course.) Now, we have no evidence in this latest allegation beyond text messages in which Peterson admits giving the boy a “woopin,” which is presumably the same as a “whuppin.” Peterson’s lawyer says nothing happened, and indeed, no complaint was made and no charges were filed. So what does the Vikings’ move mean? Is the NFL team concluding from this ambiguous incident that what Patterson did to his other child (that is, one of his many other children) was worse than the horrific photos already showed they were? How much worse could his conduct be? Is it sending the message that all corporate punishment is wrong? Who the hell is the NFL, which allows its players to maim each other, to tell me that I’m a child abuser if I spank my son? Or are the Vikings simply proving, as the league itself did it when banned Ray Rice only after a video showed him doing what it had to know he had done when it suspended him earlier for only two games, that it has no clue what’s right and what’s wrong, what is acceptable violence and what is unacceptable, what the public will ignore and what is so bad that it shouldn’t matter whether the public will ignore it or not?

Football is as dangerous to your values as it is to your brain. Continue reading