COLUMN: We are holding men accountable for their actions, why not athletes?
Revelations about sexual assault and sexual abuse have exposed the disgusting truth behind some of America’s most well-known personalities. Survivors have come forward to tell their stories of abuse in the film industry, politics and journalism.
These industries are undergoing a social reckoning because they covered up sexual harassment and assault for decades. This social reckoning needs to happen in sports.
Kevin Spacey starred in “American Beauty,” “House of Cards” and “Baby Driver,” winning Academy Awards for his acting.
On Oct. 29, Spacey’s first accuser came forward. As of today, 13 men have come forward to speak about their experiences. The allegations against Spacey led to him being replaced in a movie and dropped by his manager.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, built his career in part by being a fighter for women’s rights and other progressive ideals.
After radio host Leeann Tweeden came forward on Nov. 16 accusing Franken of groping her in 2006, five other women have come forward with similar allegations.
Franken’s role and position in the Senate have been diminished and he’s facing calls to resign.
Matt Lauer, one of NBC’s top newscasters, was fired immediately after an employee filed a complaint alleging inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace.
All three men have been disgraced and their legacies will ultimately be shaped by these allegations.
We’re rightly outraged because of what they’ve done and we’ve deemed them no longer worthy of a place in s society.
These allegations that have destroyed these men’s careers happen all the time in sports. No one seems to care.
Mike Tyson, former world heavyweight title-winning boxer, was convicted of rape in 1992. His punishment was a six-year prison sentence.
Today, Tyson has an animated show on Adult Swim and frequently guest stars in movies. It’s weird how Tyson, a convicted rapist, is most known as the guy who sings “In the Air Tonight” in “The Hangover” and not as a man who raped an 18-year-old woman.
Floyd Mayweather Jr., the undefeated boxer who at one point was the highest paid athlete in the world, beat his girlfriend in front of their children and spent two months in jail. Many instead know him as the greatest boxer of all-time.
Adrian Peterson, one of the best running backs in football, disciplined his son by beating him with a wooden switch. He was put on probation, fined $4,000 and ordered to complete 80 hours of community service because of child abuse.
He’s still playing football, with a two-year, $7 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals.
These three athletes still have jobs and they’re still loved by fans, but they don’t bear the stigma of their crimes: abuse of women and children and rape. They’re treated like nothing ever happened. We’re not holding them to the same standard we’ve set for other men.
The thing that shocks me is Lauer and Spacey will probably never work again and Franken will probably soon be out of his job, but Tyson, Mayweather and Peterson will still have their jobs.
Why is this? Why are athletes treated differently?
If we want to hold men in power accountable for their actions, every man must be held accountable.