Last night the Baltimore Ravens played a football game. It was the Thursday night game, which meant CBS Sports was televising it nationally, and the league had lined up Rihanna to perform. It had all the makings of a spectacle that would be cringe-inducing at best and outrage-producing at worst.
It turned out to be neither. CBS producers had the good sense to dispense with the usual pregame festivities and analysis, replacing them with hard news analysis—including CBS News correspondents—about the Ray Rice story. As Matt Wilstein at Mediaite put it, the broadcast “felt more like 60 Minutes than Thursday Night Football.”
But the best part—and, ultimately, the most important part—came at the end. That’s when James Brown, the well-known anchor for CBS Sports, offered his own commentary, directly into the camera:
Here's a partial transcript:
...this problem is bigger than football. There has been, appropriately so, intense and widespread outrage following the release of the video showing what happened inside the elevator at the casino. But wouldn’t it be productive if this collective outrage, as my colleagues have said, could be channelled to truly hear and address the long-suffering cries for help by so many women? And as they said, do something about it? Like an on-going education of men about what healthy, respectful manhood is all about.
And it starts with how we view women. Our language is important. For instance, when a guy says, ‘you throw the ball like a girl’ or ‘you’re a little sissy,’ it reflects an attitude that devalues women and attitudes will eventually manifest in some fashion. Women have been at the forefront in the domestic violence awareness and prevention arena. And whether Janay Rice considers herself a victim or not, millions of women in this country are.
Consider this: According to domestic violence experts, more than three women per day lose their lives at the hands of their partners. That means that since the night February 15th in Atlantic City [when the elevator incident occurred] more than 600 women have died.
The good news about domestic violence (yes, there is good news) is that its reported incidence has fallen dramatically in the last two decades. There's no single, agreed-upon reason for why, but most experts think changing cultural expectations have played a major role. Statements like Brown's can make a real difference.