It amazes me that in 2014, so many broadcasters are having a difficult time knowing how to properly report on Ray Rice hitting Janay Rice (fiancé at the time of this assault and now his wife) so hard that he knocked her out. A few examples:
Fox and Friend’s morning hosts joked yesterday that “I think the message is to take the stairs” followed by “The message is, when you’re in an elevator, there’s a camera,”. On this morning’s show, Kilmeade stated “Comments that we made during this story yesterday made some feel like we were taking the situation too lightly. We are not. We were not. Domestic abuse is a very serious issue to us, I can assure you.” And the viewing public is supposed to know that how? Was that an attempt at an apology for the minimizing and reckless remarks? Fail.
ESPN’s host Stephen A. Smith made comments indicating that in some domestic violence cases a woman can provoke a man. To his credit, he did make a true apology “My words came across that it is somehow a woman’s fault. This was not my intent. It is not what I was trying to say. Yet, the failure to clearly articulate something different lies squarely on my shoulders.” He said that he talked to and read information by DV advocates that helped him clarify the way that he was wrong and dangerous.
Further, the media decided to release the video of the video this morning. Why this was released 1) 7 months after the incident is troubling – TMZ was able to get their hands on the footage but somehow the NFL Security could not find it? and 2) what exactly did anyone think happened in the elevator… we all saw him dragging an unconscious woman out of the elevator… did the world really need to see the violent details?
Janay Rice was not a famous person. She has been thrust into the spotlight for being a victim of a horrid crime. The media is now pushing her further into the limelight and showing a horrible night in her life. Over and over and over.
Reckless reporting and minimizing adds to a domestic violence situation. I am not going to judge Ms. Rice and her choices to stay with her husband. My hope is that she has support around her and that she has access to all of the resources that she needs. My hope is the same for Mr. Rice. He is not to be thrown away, but he needs help. From his statements released lately, it sounds like he is in counseling and really delving into how to change his behavior. Abuse is learned and with support, abusers can change.
I am, however, judging the media outlets. Stop showing the video. Stop making jokes about domestic violence. Stop minimizing the acts. Stop disrespecting victims of violence. Just STOP.