The best way to figure out what’s ailing America is to tune into the annual “State of the League” press conference that’s held days before the Super Bowl. At some point in time, a football game became the only annual event that transcends race, religion, gender, or creed in this country, as “Super Bowl Sunday” is the one thing we almost all do. But on Thursday, it was less about the topics that were discussed at the press conference, and more about a very important one that wasn’t even acknowledged: violence against women.
Former Seattle Seahawks offensive lineman Chad Wheeler’s name wasn’t mentioned once. It was as if he, and what he did, didn’t exist.
The 6-foot-7, 310-pound Wheeler was arrested and booked back on January 23, after his girlfriend accused him of choking her unconsciousness, twice. According to the police report obtained by ESPN, Wheeler was shocked when she regained consciousness for the second time.
“He thought I was dead on my bed and continued to eat dinner. When I ran into the bathroom, he said, ‘Wow, you’re still alive’ while sipping on a smoothie,” is how the victim recounted the alleged incident in some text messages.
But wait, there’s more.
Wheeler also didn’t comply with police officers’ commands. He had to be tasered, but “with little effect.” Jacob Blake, a Black man, got shot in the back seven times by police for much less.
As you can probably guess, Wheeler pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges of first-degree domestic violence assault, domestic violence unlawful imprisonment, and resisting arrest. His bail was set at a measly $400,000. He’s been out of jail since he posted bond on January 26.
You would think that after all that Wheeler has done, and how the photos of the aftermath of the vicious attack have gone viral, that his name would have come up on Thursday. But, it wasn’t even hinted at. Which begs the question: What’s more shocking, the fact that Roger Goodell didn’t mention Wheeler, or that male, and female, reporters didn’t ask about him?
That’s a question that you will have to answer on your own. But what I do know, is that if Chad Wheeler were Black and his girlfriend was white, that this would be a bigger story than the actual game. Because in America, while violence against women is something that we “act like” is unacceptable, when it happens to white women at the hands of a Black man, it immediately becomes an unforgivable sin.
On Thursday, Goodell was asked about playing during a pandemic, the league’s focus on diversity with head coaching hires, allegations concerning that the league could be dodging concussion payouts to Black players, and even Colin Kaepernick.
As I said, from the pandemic to race relations, everything that’s going in America can be discussed in the biggest press conference before America’s biggest event, featuring America’s game … except violence against women.
But what do you expect? A man like Urban Meyer – who has proven that he will lie to protect men that hit women – just got a head coaching job in a league that rewards men who put their hands on women. That’s not an accusation against the NFL, it’s a fact. Here is a list I compiled of just some of the incidents that have taken place over the last few years. Read it. I apologize for not updating it.
Approximately 70 percent of the NFL’s workforce is Black, lending itself to ongoing discussions about diversity in a league that only has five African-American general managers, three African-American head coaches, and one African-American team president. However, nearly half of the NFL’s audience is made up of women, but yet, the league keeps hiring men who willingly choose to hit them.
So if you’re still wondering why Chad Wheeler wasn’t mentioned on Thursday, the answer is simple. It’s because neither the NFL, nor America, is ready to discuss the fact that they don’t have an issue with violence against women.