President Obama criticizes NFL for handling of domestic abuse
Obama appeared on ESPN Radio with host Colin Cowherd on Friday to discuss the Ray Rice controversy, athletes’ roles in social activism and whether or not the Bulls have a shot to take down the Cavs this season.
When the President of the United States isn’t happy with your handling of a situation, it is probably the sign of bad times. In the case of the NFL and its handling of Ray Rice’s domestic abuse case, Barack Obama spoke to ESPN’s Colin Cowherd on Friday about his feelings on the subject.
“The way it was handled indicates the NFL was behind the curve … in sending a clear message. You don’t want to be winging it like something like this happens. You want to have clear policies in place.”
While the President said he’s glad that the controversy has brought much-need attention to the issue of domestic violence, he was critical of not only the NFL, but of football culture at large for allowing the issue to go unchecked for so long.
“There’s been a little bit of an ole boys network in terms of how it operates,” the President said. “There have been some blind spots that are rooted not just in professional football but dating back into college football. Certain behaviors have been tolerated historically that should not have been tolerated.”
From there, the conversation turned to athletes’ roles in social activism, a topic that has been brought to the forefront in recent weeks by the Rams‘ “Hands up, don’t shoot” nod to Ferguson and the large number of NBA stars wearing “I can’t breathe” shirts in support of Eric Garner. Without referring specifically to those instances, Obama said it’s important for “athletes to recognize they’re citizens as well as entertainers and they’ve got a voice that is legitimate.”
Obama, who admitted to watching SportsCenter in the morning to escape the ever-present drone of politics, said he rarely gets to watch full games anymore. While he quipped that his hometown Bears don’t give him much of reason to tune in, he did provide some thoughtful analysis on the Bulls’ chances of taking down the Cavs in the East.
“I just like [Tom] Thibodeau as a coach,” he said. “He’s tough, they play hard. [Joakim] Noah’s a fighter. Even if [Derrick] Rose doesn’t come back to MVP level, if he’s playing at an All-Star level, I think the Bulls can beat the Cavs this season.”