The national conversation about domestic abuse took another interesting turn yesterday when CNN sports reporter Rachel Nichols and ESPN/HBO sports reporter Michelle Beadle were suddenly denied access to the Mayweather/Pacquiao “Fight of the Century” in Las Vegas seemly because they posed questions to Floyd Mayweather about his domestic abusive past during their latest interviews.
Normally, I don’t following anything to do with boxing and I am a strong advocate against any type of violence, but when I read or hear “domestic abuse,” I tune in.
I followed the reports and watched the Twitter conversation about the twist of events and was not surprised at how it unfolded. Abusers abuse, try to control circumstances with strong-arm tactics, love to dominate others and exert their “power” and create battles where there weren’t any before.
Of course, I wasn’t in the room when the yahoos made the decision to hank Nichols’ and Beadle’s press passes, but I got a pretty good idea how it went down. Someone probably thought these women needed to learn their “place” and “pay the consequences” of their “audacity. ”
This story is really no different. Rachel and Michelle may not realize it, and my hope not traumatized by it, but they were just the target of an abuser. And unfortunately, some of the language used to describe this latest incident is appalling and sexist. Like any other victim, these women were blamed and their credibility was called into questions because they spoke out and told the truth.
Mayweather’s camp claimed it was all a misunderstanding a best, and at worst, a fabricated story by two people who make a living on their honesty and credibility. A few idiots on Twitter also blamed the reporters for “making a big deal about it.” Shame on Team Mayweather and shame on those with Twitter account who used it to try to demoralize and victim-shame innocents. But again, typical.
Thankfully, there have been many supportive Tweets and comments backing these two professional and talented women, who have made a professional of exposing the lies and telling the truth. In particle Mike Freeman at Bleacher Report used some of his Twitter time to call out Mayweather, as did famed sports reporter Christine Brennan, of USA Today, and Jane McManus of ESPN. Bravo to these journalist.They did more than support a fellow journalist or two. They also held accountable an abuser. We all need to do more of that.
Though missing a hyped, violent sporting event may not be such a big deal for Nichols and Beadle, because let’s face it, they have other stories to cover and years of awarding-winning journalism ahead of them, while Mayweather’s future isn’t likely that bright. I hope they spent the night off drinking wine and socializing with friends and family. But, abuse is abuse and standing up against it matters to millions of victims around the country, around the world. When we collectively cry foul when some idiot tries to exert his power and control, we send a message to all those other abusers out there not getting national attention and secretly controlling their partners using all sorts of heinous tactics because, they think, we don’t care.
We also send a message to those mothers with bruised faces and pennies in their bank account and no way to get out, or the parent who is forced to “co-parent” with their rapist, or that kids who has seen his dad beat up his mom more than once, that abuse is wrong and we support victims.
From the heart of one victim, thank you.
Julie Boyd Cole is a mother of two sons, a journalist, writer and business woman. She has written for the Miami Herald, the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, Yahoo.com, among many publications around the country. Currently, she is the chief executive administrator of a non-profit in North Florida. And Julie is a survivor of domestic violence at the hands of her ex-husband, an NFL sportswriter, and today is an advocate helping other victims sort through the trauma of domestic abuse. Julie also writes for bruisedwoman.com and @bruisedwoman on Twitter about the topic of domestic abuse, co-parenting with an abuser and the emotional damage caused by narcissists and personality disorders.
She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org