This past Saturday, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. fought Manny Pacquiao in what was billed as the Fight of the Century. 16,507 people watched the match live, paying upwards of $40,000 for ringside seats, and it is estimated that well over 2.5 million people bought the fight on pay-per-view. All together, the fight is projected to bring in over $300 million dollars in revenue (60% of which will go to the winner, Mayweather). No doubt about it — boxing is a popular sport. But what does it say about our society when we are willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a fight involving a man who is well-known for beating women?
Mayweather’s history of domestic violence is no secret, although he has apparently gone to great trouble to ensure that most of the hard evidence of his crimes remains hidden. He has been arrested 7 times for beating 5 different women, in addition to the multiple instances where the police have been called, but no arrest or citation has been issued. He has been found guilty of domestic violence in four separate cases. His young son’s statement to the police about his father’s attack on his mother is chilling, and leaves no doubt as to what Mayweather is: an abuser. Mayweather and his team are dedicated to covering up and excusing his violence, going so far as to ban reporters who have been critical of his abuse from this match.
None of this is a secret, despite Mayweather’s attempts to sweep it under the rug. So why exactly are people still supporting this man, and spending their money to make him even richer (his anticipated take from this fight is more than $180 million dollars)? The arena was filled with celebrities, from Jimmy Kimmel to Jamie Foxx to Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton, Claire Danes, Don Cheadle and Tom Brady. Even Beyoncé — who famously danced in front of a “FEMINIST” sign at the August 2014 Video Music Awards — attended the fight. The commentary about Beyoncé’s attendance has largely been limited to her fashion choices — and not the fact that by attending the event and lending it her star power, she is condoning a serial domestic abuser. Beyond the celebrities, millions of Americans watched this fight, paying $100 for the privilege of watching a violent abuser punch someone for hundreds of millions of dollars. Why? Is the crime of domestic violence so unimportant? Or do we ignore it until there is video evidence, as in the Ray Rice case? Why do we ignore Mayweather’s significant history of assault against women?
Every minute, 24 people are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States. Domestic violence is an exceptionally serious problem in our country, one that affects millions of women, children and men each year. If we are ever going to end domestic violence in our country, we have to take a stand. As was demonstrated with the NFL in the Ray Rice case, an outcry from fans can help to force a change in policy — money talks. We can make a difference! So be a conscious consumer of media, and refuse to support any sporting event or media that glorifies domestic violence. Speak out against domestic violence. Take the pledge to end gender violence. Volunteer with Blackburn Center. Donate to our organization to help us not only support victims of violence, but to continue in our mission to end domestic and sexual violence. Be the change — and make a difference!