Keith Olberman: We begin tonight with why you don't call someone who works as a football sideline reporter the "B" word. And why don't say that the Wimbledon Women's champ is never going to be a looker. And why you don't cyber-bully a WNBA star about whether or not she has a penis. And why you don't take apart a 16-year old Olympics star for her hairstyle. And why you don't ask the winner of the Australian Open who her dream date is. And why you don't call the women's NCAA Basketball Runner's Up "some nappy-headed hoes." And why you don't tell a female reporter that she can only come into your team's locker room if she is naked. And why you don't tweet that watching football with women is worse than death and hash-tag it "TheseHoesAintLoyal."
And why you don't say a line backer looks like Tarzan, but plays like Jane. And why you don't say things about prominent women that sound violent. Even if you apologize quickly and even if you said the same things about men, you don't do that. You don't do any of that, because by some tiny amount, each one of those things lowers the level of basic human respect for women in sports. And sooner or later, there are so many tiny amounts that the level of basic human respect is gone altogether. And eventually, after all the "B" words and "hoe" comments and penis remarks and nudity demands and waitress jokes, the most powerful national sports league in the world can then get away with suspending a wife-beater for just two games for doing this and whatever precisely led up to this.
In 2006, when Albert Haynesworth of the Tennessee Titans stomped on the head of a center for the Dallas Cowboys, the National Football League suspended Haynesworth for five games. It was a despicable and dangerous act, but it was during a game, during a play that was part of a violent sport. Although the victim's helmet had come off, he was still wearing pounds of protective gear. Haynesworth, five games. Ray Rice, two games. Does this look like a game? Is this during a play? Is this part of a violent sport? Does it look like this victim had been wearing a helmet?
The National Football League's concern for Janet Palmer Rice is slightly less than the concern for her that Ray Rice showed on that tape. After he hit her, after he dragged her, after he propped her up, at least he didn't try to sell her anything. Ray Rice Baltimore Ravens Women's Draft Him Shimmer V-Neck T-Shirt - Pink. "You love watching your Ravens defeat the competition - especially when Ray Rice is on the field. Show your support for Baltimore and your favorite player with this Draft Him Shimmer V-Neck tee. It boasts a team logo on the front with a #27 embellished with rhinestones, and has Rice's name and number on the back, so everyone can see that you're rooting for the best!" $59 and 95 cents. And think how helpful it will be if we need to identify you and you're unconscious because an NFL wife-beater got to you.
The message to the women who the league claims constitute 50% of its fan base is simple, the NFL wants your money. It will do nothing else for you. It will tolerate those who abuse you verbally and those who abuse you physically. And its elder Statesmen will talk about the media distractions that could ensue because one of the NFL's gay, active players has finally self-identified without saying a word about the media distractions that could ensue because a star player has knocked out his wife and gotten only two-fifths the punishment another player got for giving an opponent a 30-stitch cut during a game. And it brings it all full circle. You can call women reporters and women athletes terrible names, names that the men who just used them would throw a punch over if those names had been directed at their wives or mothers. And another generation of athletes and fans begin to view the women in sports as just a little less human than the men. And then, one of them raised in that environment beats the crap out of his wife. And the message from the National Football League is, "That'll get you banned for two whole games." Go smoke pot recreationally and that may get you suspended for a year.
Oh, and by the way, one more of these this-is-why things; this is why when the NFL suspends a wife-beater for two games and what seems like the nation rises up in righteous wrath, you do not go on the television network the league owns and insist this is a severe punishment, when it is not. And an example of the quote "Iron Fist of the NFL" unquote because right now, the "Iron Fist of the NFL" has just been used against Ray Rice's wife and against every woman in America. There may be small errors in this transcript.