A question was posed to me about that scathing Deadspin article on Floyd Mayweather’s several domestic violence issues. I must admit, I didn’t know how to answer. Does that mean that I find domestic abuse acceptable? …Absolutely not. At the same time, that had nothing to do with what made me a Mayweather fan to begin with in part, because I wasn’t initially aware that they existed.
Those incidents coupled with the recent condescendingly patriarchal posts Floyd’s made directed at women do make it difficult to justify my own fandom at times. It’s a perplexing intersection between sports and reality, and juxtaposes being a fan of what a person does in competition against our assumptions of who they are as a person outside of competition. I don’t know if there is right answer, let alone an answer that can satisfy those who strongly disapprove of Mayweather fandom despite his transgressions.
At the same time, I live in this area. Ray Rice has done many things for the community and several times has gone above the call of duty in his efforts. These things are not lost on the people of Baltimore, even if outsiders are unaware. His humanitarian efforts and charity works have really endeared him to the people here. I wouldn’t expect people miles away to understand or be aware of this relationship. This incident is highly unusual and uncharacteristic of Ray Rice as far as we know. Before this he has never really had issues off the field or on them.
So maybe this is about forgiveness. Maybe the fans of Baltimore are willing to forgive him more quickly than those observing from a distance. We are not the country of second chances that we purport to be and I think recognizing that can be eye opening when people make mistakes or act unethically, immorally, etc. Also, depending on the relationship with a person who has acted in any of those ways, it can make it easier or harder to accept their faults and forgive them. I’m not the most religious person, but that is one quality that is the most admirable about Jesus. That is one of the most difficult things to do in life because we are all selfish in that way.
When people act in those ways, we (me included) grab the pitchforks, torches, and noose. Accountability and accepting responsibility are two things my mother instilled in me and I believe that is why I respond to it that way, but I am also thinking about how she taught me forgiveness, too. That is the most powerful gift you can give to someone (and yourself, if you are the victim). We are selfish and afraid that it will be used against us by facilitating some perceived weakness and vulnerability to be taken advantage of. Sometimes that happens, but not necessarily every time.
My mom beat my ass when I deserved it. Thank god she was able to talk with me and show forgiveness afterwards, or else I wouldn’t have been able to understand that people can learn to do better when their errors are pointed out to them. However if they aren’t given the opportunity to do better; how can they?
I will say one last thing. We are mighty strong in our convictions, I understand and accept that. However, if our issue is with penalties enforced by the NFL in regards to Ray Rice aren’t compensatory; how many people are strong enough in their convictions to turn off the T.V. on Thursday, Sunday and Monday Nights? I think that is where you’ll find me in my Mayweather fandom, stuck in a perpetual cycle of admiration and disgust.
I hear you. I just think he’s like family to Baltimore. The thing about that is sometimes fandom can emulate love. And showing love to people in their weakest and darkest moments is the most humane thing you can do for a person. Not only when it’s the easiest and most convenient. I understand though, people should be disgusted and if the whole world has yet to forgive Rice - it’s okay. But it should also be okay to forgive him, too.