Would You Kiss Your Mother With That Mouth?
The National Football League is reviewing the allegations surrounding Brett Favre and Jenn Sterger. A day after Deadspin.com published voicemails and lewd pictures said to be of Favre, league spokesman Greg Aiello told reporters that the league is “reviewing the matter.”
When Brian Costello of the New York Post asked Favre about the incident during a weekly press conference, Favre brushed aside the question: “I’m not getting into that … I’ve got my hands full with the Jets.” With both Jenn Sterger and the New York Jets agreeing to fully cooperate with the NFL investigation, the matter may escalate into something Brett Favre has no choice but to get into.
Contrary to the reports of major news outlets, I believe the real news story centers on the public’s reaction to Jenn Sterger.
I rarely stray from football on this blog, but there are some situations that are simply too important to ignore. What I’m talking about is the hostility that has been directed towards Jenn Sterger. The hate-filled sexism has run rampant on numerous social media sites, during chats next to the water cooler at work, and in comment sections of online sports articles. The vitriol directed towards Jenn Sterger is not only appalling and abhorrent, but it is indicative of a type of thinking that has been holding back civilization for centuries.
Let’s review the situation. Jenn Sterger was purportedly on the receiving end of racy and suggestive (to put it mildly) voicemails and text messages from Brett Favre. Sterger refused to go public with the voicemails and texts for 2 years, but admitted to having a good laugh about them with her friends. When the alleged communications became public — because you knew they would — Sterger is suddenly a horrible person. For what? Owning the cell phone which received the messages? There is no rational frame of mind that can justify that logic. If a famous professional athlete sent me naked pictures of himself, would you call me a “whore” and a “gold digger” when the pictures surfaced? The double-standard to which our society applies to women is unfair, undeserved, and completely unfounded.
When we carelessly throw hate-filled rhetoric at our grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, and nieces, we all lose. When you take sides based on the sexes, you perpetuate one of the oldest running stereotypes in the book, and future generations are forced to deal with our inability to view human beings as equals. What worries me most is the effect of narrow-minded thinking – whether it relates to sex, race, religion, class, or sexuality – on the younger generations, particularly the adolescents who are unable to cope with repulsive verbal — and sometimes physical — attacks. It’s the kids that ESPN’s LZ Granderson documented are taking their own lives because they are repeatedly forced to withstand the verbal and physical bullying from their peers. The intolerance stops as soon as we say it does.
Would you kiss your mother with that mouth?