Thursday night’s pre-game show before the Ravens-Steelers match-up was probably the best example thus far of how much the Ray Rice video has impacted the culture around the NFL. At the end of the half-hour show—which featured a live news update on the Rice situation, complete with an airing of the elevator video—CBS sportscaster James Brown looked straight into the camera and gave a powerful speech about male responsibility, not just for domestic violence, but also for our collective devaluation of women. It’s one thing when a tampon company recognizes the dangers of the phrase “You throw like a girl.” It’s something else when a male sportscaster says, “Our language is important. For instance, when a guy says, ‘You throw the ball like a girl’ or ‘You’re a little sissy,’ it reflects an attitude that devalues women, and attitudes will eventually manifest in some fashion.”
The news cycle moves fast and we all hop from one scandal to the next with remarkable speed. For James Brown and the CBS Sports team to deliver this forceful and straightforward message tonight gives me a little hope that the machinery around the NFL is not going to let the Ray Rice story go quite so easily.