When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell handed down a mere a two-game suspension for domestic violence, he took his cue from some of the very same women’s groups now calling for his head.
Goodell first suspended Ray Rice, a star player, for two games four months after Rice’s grand jury indictment for third-degree aggravated assault. A hotel video showing Rice dragging his then-fiancee’s limp body out of an elevator “went viral.” Rice reportedly admitted to Goodell that he punched her in the face, knocking her down. For this, Goodell suspended Rice just two games.
The protests over the light punishment turned to screams when another video became public, this one showing Rice inside the elevator delivering the punch. Why did it take that video to understand the gravity of the offense? After all, even without the video, one knew that Rice’s now-wife didn’t slip on a bar of soap.
Among those crying foul is the National Organization for Women. NOW President Terry O’Neill said: “The NFL has lost its way. It doesn’t have a Ray Rice problem; it has a violence against women problem. … The only workable solution is for Roger Goodell to resign and for his successor to appoint an independent investigator with full authority to gather factual data about domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community and to recommend real and lasting reforms.”
What about NOW’s indifference toward, if not acceptance of, the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s sordid record of disgusting behavior toward women?
In 1990, Gentlemen’s Quarterly published an expose of Kennedy that would have brought down the career of virtually any politician, including a legacy lefty fawned over by the media. According to the piece, Kennedy was not merely a drunken skirt chaser; he was a criminal serial sexual predator:
“As (waitress Carla) Gaviglio enters the room, the six-foot-two, 225-plus-pound Kennedy grabs the five-foot-three, 103-pound waitress and throws her on the table. She lands on her back, scattering crystal, plates and cutlery and the lit candles. Several glasses and a crystal candlestick are broken. Kennedy then picks her up from the table and throws her on (Sen. Chris) Dodd, who is sprawled in a chair. With Gaviglio on Dodd’s lap, Kennedy jumps on top and begins rubbing his genital area against hers, supporting his weight on the arms of the chair. As he is doing this, another waitress enters the room. She and Gaviglio both scream, drawing one or two dishwashers. Startled, Kennedy leaps up. He laughs. Bruised, shaken and angry over what she considered a sexual assault, Gaviglio runs from the room.”
Perhaps the NFL took its cue from NOW’s embrace of Bill Clinton, about whom liberal British journalist Christopher Hitchens said was credibly accused of rape three times. Hitchens, author of the book “No One Left to Lie To,” appeared in 1999 on the ABC show “Politically Incorrect”: “Mr. Clinton is a rapist. … Believably accused three times of rape. … I operate on the presumption of guilt. … I can’t convict anybody, but I’m not going to say Juanita Broaddrick is a liar, because everything she says checks out, and President Clinton hasn’t denied it yet. He won’t comment on the accusations. It’s not his word against hers — and if it was, it would be the word of a psychopathic liar.”
Perhaps Goodell took his cue from the non-reaction to Juanita Broaddrick’s appearance on Dateline NBC where she accused Bill Clinton of rape: “Stupid me, I ordered coffee to the room,” she said. “I thought we were going to talk about the campaign.” On NBC’s “Dateline,” a tearful Broaddrick said: “I first pushed him away. I just told him ‘no.’ … He tries to kiss me again. He starts biting on my lip. … And then he forced me down on the bed. I just was very frightened. I tried to get away from him. I told him ‘no.’ … He wouldn’t listen to me.”
Or perhaps Goodell took his cue from the non-reaction to Kathleen Willey. Willey, a former White House volunteer and self-described “good friend” of the then-president, appeared on “60 Minutes” and accused Clinton of sexual battery.
“I just told him that my husband was in financial difficulty and that things were at a crisis point,” said Willey, “and that my volunteer days were over, that I needed a regular paying job and could he help me.” But in a small room just off the Oval Office, she says, Clinton hugged and kissed her. When she tried to push him away, “he touched my breasts with his hand … and then he whispered … ‘I’ve wanted to do this ever since I laid eyes on you.’ … He took my hand, and he put it … on his genitals.”
Ted Kennedy was lionized. Bill Clinton is adored. Accusers Broaddrick, Willey, Paula Jones, and Gennifer Flowers have been ignored, dismissed, or branded as liars. Where was NOW then?
Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host.