I’ve addressed the issue of misogyny in hip-hop in the past here on RapReviews.com, but it would be a crime to ignore the larger context of misogyny in society as a whole. Speaking of crimes…
I’ve been a football fan for just as long as I’ve been a hip-hop head. Both things date back to my childhood, and on rare occasions back then both worlds would intersect – such as the Chicago Bears doing The Super Bowl Shuffle song. I’d share the fun and campy music video with you if it were available on YouTube, but all instances of the song seem to have vanished – most likely due to a recent lawsuit filed against the copyright holders against six of the original Bears featured in the song. That would be a different topic for another day – the point is I can trace my love for both all the way back to my pre-teen years. Not every crossover between the two worlds was a success though – Deion Sanders probably should have left the rapping alone. Sorry Prime Time – your mic skills are best used as an analyst on the NFL Network.
Even though hip-hop and football are linked to me, casual misogyny is not one of the ways I want to associate one with the other. Unfortunately in both worlds a casual disrespect toward females as “groupies” women as “gold diggers” exists. I can’t prove the word “bitch” is thrown around in the NFL as liberally as hip-hop there’s no doubt single and even married football players develop a sense of entitlement with millions of dollars being thrown around and egos running unchecked. There are certainly some men of high moral standing like Reggie White, the “Minister of Defense,” who set a positive example for young football fans (though I can’t defend some of his homophobic remarks). There’s a yin and a yang though and for every Reggie White, there’s a Ray Rice. Be warned that the following video is highly disturbing.
Even though Rice has been indicted by a grand jury for what can be seen in this clip – dragging his unconscious fiancee Janay Palmer out of an elevator – there’s apparently a second video of him that we’ve NEVER seen that I don’t think I’d ever want to see. Much like the fight between Jay-Z and Beyonce’s sister we’ll never know how it started, but we do know how it ended – and Shawn Carter certainly showed more restraint than Ray Rice apparently did. The insulting part is that in sending a message that domestic abuse is unacceptable conduct for a NFL player, Rice was suspended for two games of this season. That just barely touches the millions of dollars he earns as a pro player, and if his lawyer is slick enough to beat the legal charges he’s facing, Rice essentially gets off with this behavior with a slap on the wrist. Rice married his fiancee one day after being indicted, essentially garnering spousal privilege, even further reducing the chances he’ll ever pay a real penalty for the crime he committed.
It’s not impossible for the NFL to get this right – the Aaron Hernandez double homicide shows that NFL teams are willing to enforce their “moral turpitude” clause with regard to employment and benefits. Hernandez has yet to be convicted of his crimes, even though the preponderance of evidence suggests his involvement. He’ll have his day in court, and so will Mr. Rice, but the message the NFL has sent is “we don’t support murderers, but we’re fine with guys who beat up women.” Remember we don’t have camera footage of any of Aaron’s alleged crimes – but here we have footage of Rice dragging his unconscious then-girlfriend of an elevator and footage of the punch that knocked her out allegedly exists too. The NFL can argue Rice understands the consequences of his actions and has agreed to diversion to change his ways, but the only message I get from their double standard is “you can beat a bitch down – as long as you don’t kill her.” That’s completely unacceptable.