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The NFL, Boxing And Domestic Violence

A few days ago, adult film star Christy Mack posted these words on her Instagram page:

I’ve had several dentist visits to make my smile look more normal. I still have a few more dental visits to go. I’ve had my eyes checked out and made aware that I’m very lucky to have my vision where it is, since the muscle is tethered by the fragments from the blowout fracture in my left eye. My multiple nose fractures will be fixed in the next couple of months. While they’re fairly symmetrical, my nose is shifted on the inside and out causing breathing issues. While my face is starting to look decent again from the swelling going down, it is still not my own.

Mack is writing about her recovery from an attack by her former boyfriend, the MMA fighter known as War Machine.

Of course, Mack’s story isn’t the only recent high-profile instance of domestic violence involving a professional athlete. NFL running back Ray Rice was let go from the Baltimore Ravens when graphic video tape surfaced of Rice knocking his then fiancée unconscious in an elevator.

And NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is under fire for the way the league underplayed the incident.

Are professional athletes more prone to violence in their personal lives because they’re required to show so much aggression on the field or in the ring?

Or is that just a connection we make intuitively, because it seems to make sense?

How obligated are sports leagues like the NFL to make an example of players like Ray Rice? And how can society reconcile a drive to watch dangerous and violent sports like boxing and football, with a need to live in a civil and non-violent world?


Lee Igel, co-director, NYU Program on Sports and Society

Otis Pimpleton, Jr., trainer, Mayweather Boxing Club

Josh Boyd, pastor, Fight Church
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