The stars have fallen: a look into the prevalence of domestic violence amongst professional athletes

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Kaitlyn Akers

As of late, some athletic teams have been under fire because of a range of crimes being committed by some of their players.

Athletic stars such as Hope Solo, Ray Rice, Oscar Pistorious and Adrian Peterson are in the limelight for the wrong reasons after allegedly committing crimes such as domestic violence, child abuse and even murder.

Despite the despicable acts these athletes have committed, Solo is still allowed to train and hold a roster spot on the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team, and there is talk that Rice will be allowed back on the football field. These examples show that because they are athletes, they are receiving special treatment.

In the case of Solo, she punched and tackled her 17-year-old nephew, according to the police report on New York Daily News. As of recent, she has pleaded not guilty and is expected to go to trial in November.

It is fair to point out that it is extremely hard to prove intent; so, to play devil’s advocate, could there just have been rough play with her nephew, and then when it escalated, it was claimed to be domestic violence?

But instead of keeping her off the field, as the case hasn’t been settled, she has been able to keep a roster spot on the World Cup qualifying squad, which has put the United States Women’s Soccer Team under fire.

However, when Rice’s domestic violence case was brought to light, he was suspended for two games. After his initial suspension, according to the Baltimore Sun, Rice was then taken off the field indefinitely once another video surfaced.

According to The Baltimore Sun, appeals begin next week, and Article 46 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement states that a player can’t be punished for the same act twice. In short, Rice will likely be reinstated due to the act, which raises questions as to why Article 46 would have been created in the first place.

Although Rice may not play again until next season, the case raises the question of why he should be allowed to play again at all. More importantly, why should any person who commits a heinous crime be allowed to play a sport again?

Then there is the case of Oscar Pistorious, the Paralympic track star who was sentenced to five years in jail on October 21, according to CNN, for negligent killing of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorious claimed that he thought she was an intruder and defended himself. If Pistorious can be sentenced for his crime, why can’t other athletes?

What about Peterson? When his four-year-old son was visiting him in Houston, he beat his child to the point that he had open wounds on his legs, back and his buttocks, according to CBS Minnesota.

Peterson claimed to CBS Minnesota that he was just disciplining his son, and had felt bad for the unintended wounds that he endured. This then begs the question, how does disciplining turn into a hospital visit?

True, the other athletes didn’t commit the same heinous acts, but shouldn’t there be justice for those who were the victims of the athletes’ anger? Shouldn’t athletes who commit crimes not be allowed to continue in their specific fields, like the rest of society?

In the real world, if you have some type of criminal record, finding a job is next to impossible. So why should those who are athletes get to keep their job, after committing a crime, whereas everyone else can’t find a job?

In the world of justice, it isn’t always black and white when it comes to crime and punishment. There is a lot that goes into a court proceeding, and of course, if someone has an amazing defender, they are likely to win the case (anyone remember O.J Simpson?). Regardless, there is hope that the victims will get justice that they deserve.

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