Opinion: Ray Rice, A Broken NFL Culture, and How to Fix It

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In an incisive article published by The Advocate, Athlete Ally Outreach Director Sam Marchiano explains why the Ray Rice case has implications beyond the single issue of domestic violence.

“The NFL is a broken culture with a lack of diversity at the root of the problem. In football it is commonplace to demean and marginalize women, LGBT people, or anyone who does not fit its cultural norm. Whether it’s trying to brush aside criminal behavior like Rice’s brutal attack or perpetuating the discriminatory climate that made it almost impossible for Michael Sam to get a job in the league, this outdated mindset is rooted in the same basic value system where behind closed doors, it is still acceptable for a teammate to call another player “my bitch” or use the F word.

These examples of how sexism and homophobia tango together in the league also surfaced in the Miami Dolphins locker room when Jonathan Martin was bullied. Martin was called all these names and more, and his sister was repeatedly verbally degraded with crude talk of sexual acts to be performed on her. The intention of this harassment and its more subtle forms is to convey a simple point: You are a lesser man than me; know you are weaker than me. This perpetuates an orthodox concept of masculinity that promotes sexist, misogynistic, and antifeminine attitudes that devolve the entire culture.”


-Sam Marchiano

You can read the full article here.