Yael T. Abouhalkah

James Brown’s powerful speech about Chiefs’ Jovan Belcher, Ray Rice and domestic violence (with video)

CBS announcer James Brown gave a powerful speech on domestic violence Thursday night.
CBS announcer James Brown gave a powerful speech on domestic violence Thursday night.

CBS announcer James Brown on Thursday night gave the most powerful statement yet about the messy Ray Rice domestic violence case that has rocked the world of the National Football League.

You can watch the nearly two-minute monologue here. He delivered it before CBS broadcast the game between Rice’s former team, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brown started by recalling that, in late 2012, he challenged the NFL and all men to confront domestic violence after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, then took his own life in front of Chiefs officials outside Arrowhead Stadium.

“Yet here we are confronting the same issue of violence against women,” Brown said.

Brown’s words need to be read by men and women, NFL fans and those who aren’t.

His speech was right on point about what needs to be done to combat domestic violence in the NFL as well as in all of society.

His words also showed just how pathetically weak NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has behaved through this whole Rice ordeal. That started with his first punishment of the Ravens running back, suspending him for just two games for his assault of his then-girlfriend back in February.

Goodell and the NFL suspended Rice indefinitely when video emerged this week that Rice had punched and knocked out Janay Rice, who is now his wife. But Goodell’s tone-deaf performance for months has been appropriately criticized by many, including leading women’s groups. He needs to resign.

Among Brown’s most telling comments Thursday night:

▪ “Now let’s be clear: This problem is bigger than football. There has been, appropriately so, intense and wide-spread outrage following this video showing what happened in the elevator at the casino. Now wouldn’t it be productive if this collective outrage could be channeled to truly hear and address the long-suffering cries for help from so many women, and do something about it?”

▪ “Our language is important, for example. When a guy says you throw a ball like a girl or you’re a sissy, it reflects an attitude that devalues women and attitudes that will eventually manifest in some fashion.”

▪ “So this is yet another call to men to stand up and take responsibility for their thoughts, their words, their deeds, and to get help. Because our silence is deafening and deadly.”

Well said, and an excellent way to sum up at least part of the solution to domestic violence in this country.

To reach editorial page columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah, call 816-234-4887 or send email to abouhalkah@kcstar.com. Twitter @YaelTAbouhalkah.