Opinion

What to make of the NFL-domestic violence link

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Renee James
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      Renee James

      Renee James writes social commentary and resolves daily to keep up with her blog: It’s Not Me, It’s You. Her essays have appeared in 101 Damnations: A Humorists’ Tour of Personal Hells and May Contain Nuts: A Very Loose Canon of American Humor.



      Her opinion pieces have appeared in The Baltimore Sun, The Los Angeles Times, The Orlando Sentinel, The Morning Call and other Tribune newspapers, as well as The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Women’s Quarterly and Tango Magazine.

I never really bought the whole Mars/Venus explanation for the differences between men and women. I understand that our gender-driven instincts may not be entirely aligned, but different planets? Isn’t that a little extreme?

Then I read about a new study by PhDs David Card and Gordon Dahl. Between 1995 and 2006, Card and Dahl tracked the wins and losses of the following NFL teams: the Carolina Panthers, the New England Patriots, the Denver Broncos, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Detroit Lions and the Tennessee Titans. That makes them exactly like millions of football fans. But they did something else. They noted when the teams lost a game they were favored to win, and checked the reports of domestic violence in those cities on those dates.

Their research shows that domestic violence increases by about ten percent when a local NFL team loses a game they were supposed to win. A ten percent increase. Because of a football game, for God’s sake.

When a team unexpectedly loses to a “rival” team, the rise in domestic violence is even higher (20%).

But when a team is predicted to lose, and loses, women can breathe easier. The research indicated no measurable increase in reports of attacks against women when a team lost a game it was expected to lose.

And what if they played poorly? Also not good news. Card and Dahl found that if a local team was in playoff contention and had four or more sacks or turnovers in a game or lost 80 or more yards to penalties, domestic violence in the surrounding area would increase by 17%.

I don’t know what to think about this. It appears that some men get so mad when their football team unexpectedly loses that they beat up a woman because of it. What do they do when they have to deal with actual tragedies? Kill people?

I suppose the good news for the NFL is that the researchers claim that it’s broader-reaching than it appears. Any number of unexpected and disappointing events could result in the same kind of uptick in violence. A speeding ticket on the way home is probably enough to set some men off and result in an assault on the woman waiting at home.

I have a suggestion. The Madden NFL 2012 videogame producers have announced that the new version of their game will include players who suffer concussions and get sidelined. That added component may help young boys play the game more responsibly. It’s a “teaching tool” to illustrate the safest way to deal with this kind of injury.

The next version should have an additional “teaching tool” that includes a message about the loathsome, criminal, sickening behavior of any man who ever attacks a woman. Maybe it can remind men that it’s only a game; that the women in their lives may suffer concussions — or worse — at their hands if they can’t control themselves. Maybe if an NFL player looks straight into the camera and tells violent men to get some help, it will bring a moment of clarity to some. Not to all — no doubt. But since the NFL contributes to the problem, maybe it can contribute to the solution. Any drop in the sobering statistics reported by Card and Dahl counts as a win.

Renee James writes social commentary and keeps track of the things that mystify her on her blog: It’s not me, it’s you, found at reneeaj.blogspot.com. Her email address is raaj3@msn.com.

  • MaleMatters

    Renee James’ lack of balance regarding gender violence hints that her real objective is the common feminist practice of trying to make women look good by making men look bad.

    Women are more likely to commit major physical abuse of their children than are men: 56.8 percent to 43.2 percent. [Source: Fire With Fire, by feminist Naomi Wolf, p. 221, hardcover]

    Women are more likely to kill their children than are men: 55 percent to 45 percent. [Source: “Women and Violent Crime,” a paper by Prof. Rita J. Simon, Department of Justice, Law and Society and Washington College of Law, American University, Washington, D.C]

    If women, without provocation, batter and kill children, whom they’ve supposedly been socialized to love, they can, without provocation, batter and kill men, whom they’ve been socialized — by the media, feminist writings like this one, and VAWA-type legislation — to distrust, fear, and hate.

    If feminists don’t women’s violence seriously, why should men take women’s opinionsly seriously? After all, according to ideological feminists’ own — and correct — definition of hate crimes, violence is merely an opinion acted out, a view transformed into behavior. (From “Letter to Judiciary Committees on the Violence Against Women Act” at http://battlinbog.blog-city.com/at_male_matters_letter_on_vawa_faxed_to_senate_and_house_jud.htm)

    What, with her biased commentary, was James trying to achieve? Gender harmony? Or gender diviseness?

  • Rocketman

    Does the author also believe the canard that domestic violence spikes on Super Bowl Sunday?
    That TOO was de-bunked years ago.
    There are so many variables that get ignored in sloppy “studies” such as the one presented.

    ~(Ă„)~

  • Ray24

    Domestic violence will never end as long as the whole truth about it is misrepresented to comply with feminist ideology. V.P. Biden recently called violence against women, “the very worst abuse.” The very worst abuse is valuing one life less than another for having been born the wrong gender. Under domestic violence law, the wrong gender is men. Shelter and services are virtually non-existent for male victims of domestic violence. Options out of a bad relationship, that women have, are often not available to men. Men wind up gender profiled by the taxpayer funded, domestic violence industry, because of gender feminist ideology controlling the d.v. industry. Men are often battered by domestic violence, and then battered again by the taxpayer funded, domestic violence industry as shown in “Los Misandry” at Youtube.

  • Ray24

    What about little children? Deaths of little children, killed by their mothers, is egregious. Yet the taxpayer funded, domestic violence industry disingenuously tries to make us believe that women are the main victims. According to the U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services and DOJ statistics, more kids are killed by neglect and abuse in a year (1,760 in 2007), than all the female intimate partner homicides in a year. Mothers are the single largest group of kid killers, according to HHS, and they have a rate twice that of fathers. Nowhere near the money is spent to protect kids from kid killing mothers as is spent by the domestic violence industry to protect women. The taxpayer funded d.v. industry is a bastion of misandrist vilification, falsely accusing men of being the overwhelming cause of d.v., and empowering violent women to commit further domestic violence. The corruption of the taxpayer funded, domestic violence industry is characterized in “Los Misandry” at Youtube.

  • Ray24

    What about all the men who are victims of women’s domestic violence? Women’s domestic violence against men is grossly under reported, while male victims are still routinely being ignored by the taxpayer funded domestic violence industry. Credible research overwhelmingly shows that the ratio of domestic violence is at least 50/50 between women & men. Go to Fiebert Bibliography. According to one study by researchers who work at the CDC, in 70 percent of domestic violence incidents, where the d.v. is not mutual, it’s women who initiate the d. v. Go to Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting. Click on the link under the red & blue pie chart. D.v. law follows a gender feminist agenda over facts & does great harm to many innocent men & also many violent women. Go to Youtube, “Los Misandry.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAmOxvudpF8

  • alpha_male

    So I am left to understand that during the NFL off-season, there is absolutly no statistical change in the amount of domestic violence that occurs??

    Why not compare it to the tides or the phases of the moon or something else totally off the wall?

    I wonder how much grant money we paid in taxes for this useful research.

  • eba

    Note that Ms. James does not indicate where the research was published. Interesting how the statistics come out to nice round (easy to remember) numbers. And domestic violence committed by wives isn’t even considered.

    Everyone remember the Super Bowl Hoax? http://www.snopes.com/crime/statistics/superbowl.asp

  • curmudgeon

    When you have men…and yes, women…defining their lives in terms of the success or failure of the favorite sporting team, would you expect anything different?

    The real world is not a football game played on a Sunday in the fall or winter. But there are more then enough emotionally deficient individuals that think that is the case.

    One wonders what each of these individuals actually got from their education…

    Which brings us to the question of what is actually being taught!

    I would suggest that the focus on education cum education in the past half century has resulted in education that has forgone learning.

    Time for our educators to understand that whether or not our students learn is far more important than how it is taught.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dustyn-Hughes/692357656 Dustyn Hughes

    oh come on!

    I am SO tired of people trying to shift blame. I thought that was what the darn liberals were good at?

    The NFL is NOT responsible for a holes beating up their wives/girlfriends. There is NO reason that ANYONE in the NFL should even think about lending credence to this sort of BS. The time to find OTHER people to blame for the worlds ills is long past. The only people to blame are the abusers themselves. Nothing the NFL can say or do is going to prevent an abuser from being abusive.

    So having “an NFL player looks straight into the camera and [tell] violent men to get some help,” is only going to promote the BS that watching football, or playing football, makes men abuse women.