Sexual Misconduct in Professional Sports

Jamey Simon, Staff Writer

Why do some people get away with doing wrong? Over time, players in sports have gotten away with doing wrong to women because the league does not want to lose money or fans. Several cases have been put on back burners with minimal if any punishment. Sports cases from Ray Rice to Antonio Brown have been mishandled constantly. The result of this? The victims have to deal with the pain for the rest of their lives.

Sports players are not always punished appropriately for sexual misconduct and rape. Ray Rice and Antonio Brown are just two of the many players who have been accused of harm towards women whether sexually or physically. Both did not get enough punishment. Although both faced considerable evidence, neither went to jail. Because these players are so valuable to their teams, the cases get barely looked at and then swept aside. Ray Rice’s case was hardly examined, and Antonio Brown’s was dismissed by the judge. After knocking out his fiancee, Rice was only suspended two games. 

The Washington Post stated on the matter, “The NFL generally waits until a legal case has been resolved in court before deciding whether to impose a suspension without pay under that policy.” Because some of these cases never make it to court, the NFL can just decide not to do anything about it.  

Brown was accused by his physical trainer, a 28 year old gymnast, of sexual assault and rape on multiple occasions. He only got probation and anger management classes.

Millions of families around the world watch professional sports such as football in person or around a television. A majority of them have favorite players and players who they do not like very much. 

Considering the fans are a part of the profit of the players, fans should stand up to the NFL not punishing players enough when it comes to assault and misconduct. After the Antonio Brown accusations, the Patriots took Brown on. The New York Times stated,”The New England Patriots still have the most expensive single ticket at $122, the highest average for a non premium ticket. The 49ers are next at $117” This shows the insane amount of money teams make and what a strike could do to them. Fans should be standing up to things like this. People in charge of the league look weak not punishing their players, and if people can do something about it they should definitely try.

Most importantly, victims of sexual assault and rape face extreme amounts of emotional pain after the attack. To go to court is grueling and humiliating for the victims. For them and their families to be attacked online and to see the perpetrators barely get punished by their league must be very painful. This can discourage others from speaking out because they feel nothing will be done. 

A report from the World Health Organization stated, “Whether performed by a male or a female, sexual abuse is extremely damaging and painful emotionally and psychologically to the victim. Many victims of sexual assault experience symptoms of helplessness, guilt, humiliation, insomnia, impaired memory and sexual dysfunction.” 

After players are accused of sexual assault or something else with substantial evidence, missing games or getting a little less of the millions they make is not an appropriate punishment. The victims have to live with this pain the rest of their life, and they will have confidence problems and feel as though it’s their fault. The process of speaking up is a brave one, so to undermine that brave moment by barely punishing the player might prevent others from speaking out. 

Sports’ team leagues do not punish their players appropriately for sexual assault and should do so because it damages the victim, hurts their credibility and brings women rape statistics up. The fans of these sports teams and everyone else should hold the league accountable and most importantly the player. If someone does something wrong, they should be paying appropriately for it instead of being punished like children.