Keith Olbermann is fed up with the NFL — and pretty much the rest of the sports community. In a strong takedown, Olbermann scolds the NFL for its skewed priorities, highlighted by its recent soft punishment of Baltimore Ravens star running back Ray Rice. He begins by listing nearly a dozen incidents of sports sexism, ranging from cyberbullying a WNBA star about whether or not she has a penis to taking apart a 16-year-old Olympian for her hairstyle.
"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," Olbermann said. And because when this happens, the most powerful national sports league in the world can then get away with "punishing" a star football player with a mere two-game suspension for beating his wife into unconsciousness.
Olbermann sharply contrasts the NFL's treatment of the star Ravens player with how it treats its female fans by displaying a pink, shimmery #27 t-shirt marketed specifically to women.
"The message to the women who the league claims constitute 50 percent of its fan base is simple: the NFL wants your money. It will do nothing else for you," he said.
Olbermann's argument is further supported by the fact that in 2006, Albert Haynesworth was suspended for five games for stomping on the head of Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode during a play in a game of the violent sport. Meanwhile, this year multiple NFL players have already been suspended longer than Rice for substance abuse violations. As per the NFL's policy, players can be suspended for four games for smoking marijuana on the off-season.
While Olbermann is outraged, Rice's suspension has gotten mixed reviews. ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith made controversial comments about the victim's role in domestic violence on-air, then took to Twitter to make a botched apology.
Comedians like John Oliver, Stephen Colbert, and John Stewart have an entertaining platform for comedic social commentary. However, there is something particularly powerful about Olbermann's solemn criticism of the sports industry for the sexist environment it has created.