Richelle Carey asks why professional athletes are treated differently in domestic violence cases

HLN Anchor Richelle Carey asks a very important question over on her new video series on The Frisky:

Why do professional athletes get special treatment in domestic violence cases?  

This past weekend was the big fight between Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Miguel Cotto on Pay Per View.  Mayweather earned a guaranteed $32 million dollars for the fight, in which he came out on top.  The problem is that there almost wasn’t a fight.

In January, Mayweather pleaded guilty to domestic abuse charges and was sentenced to 90 days in jail. Mayweather assaulted his ex-girlfriend in 2010, but he didn’t go to jail – he told a judge he couldn’t go, because he had to work.  Going to jail for charges of domestic violence would have sure put a wrinkle in his Vegas fight plans.

A judge granted him a six-month delay on his jail sentence because the fight was such a big money-maker for Las Vegas, which would net $100 million.  After Mayweather promised to donate cash to a breast cancer charity, his get out of jail “free” card was all set.

When asked about his “special treatment” in regards to domestic violence, Mayweather said, “it comes with the territory.” But Richelle asks an important question here: “When will a woman and her safety have more value in our society than money or fame?”

Check out Richelle Carey’s video commentary.

Transcript below the jump.

Richelle Carey here from HLN. So, did you watch the fight? Pay-per-view fights are such a big deal in our culture we just kind of say “the fight.” But I want to make sure we are on the same page, so I mean the Floyd “Money” Mayweather/Miguel Cotto fight in Las Vegas. You probably did or maybe your boyfriend or husband did if you didn’t. Estimates are 2 million buys at $$69.95 each. Mayweather earned a guaranteed $32 million dollars and a cut of all that pay-per-view money so probably about $50 million dollars. Good for him. I’m not a hater. I didn’t watch the fight. I am a sports fan, not really a boxing fan, but I am a sports fan. I can get as caught up as the next person. Let me explain why I did not get caught up this time. Were it not for a judge in Las Vegas, Floyd Mayweather would not have been boxing on Saturday, May 5th. On January 6th of this year, Mayweather was set to begin serving a 90 day jail sentence. Why? Because he pleaded guilty to a reduced domestic violence charge and no contest to two harassment charges.

Back September 2010, he pulled his ex-girlfriends hair, punched her, and twisted her arm in front of their children. True, we weren’t there. But it’s fascinating to me that domestic violence is one of the only crimes when people don’t accept what the courts say. The defendant often gets the benefit of the doubt with those words, “we weren’t there.” Implying the victim might be lying. We also weren’t there in 2002 and in 2004 when Mayweather was charged with domestic violence and battery of two women.

Back to that jail sentence though. Mayweather’s attorney asked for a 6 month delay in his client serving that sentence and the judge say yes. Justice of the peace said he could show up for his sentence on June 1st. This is where his nickname comes into play, money. His lawyers argued that this fight could have a 100 million dollar impact on the city of Vegas and that his client would donate to a breast cancer charity.

So let me get this straight. Judge, I have to work so I don’t have time to go to jail. Could a mailman do that? Could a garbage collector do that? Could your brother who works at McDonald’s get out of going to jail by saying I have to work? Of course not! Because he isn’t rich and or an athlete. And after all it’s just domestic violence and we weren’t there.

I mentioned I’m a sports fan. I also believe in redemption. I have followed Michael Vick’s career. He’s one of the most gifted and at one time most highly paid athletes of his generation. We know why his life and career came crumbling down. The brutal and inexcusable abuse and killing of dogs. You can forgive him, or maybe not, but he lost his job, went to prison, went bankrupt and suffered life altering consequences. He has shown remorse and the desire to change. In the face of scorn, outrage and protest. Seen any scorn, outrage, protest over the abuse of women by Mayweather. Seen any life altering consequences? No, just a show up to jail when it works out for you.

Barely any sports writers asking him about this and when they do he says “it comes with the territory.” That’s what he said right after winning his fight Saturday. Am I hating on Mayweather which is the common response when calling out an abusers behavior? No. Am I calling for protests? No. What I am calling out is all of us, asking when will a woman and her safety have more value in our society than money and fame. Isn’t she worth at least 69.95? I’m Richelle Carey. See you at 3pm weekdays on HLN.

Join the Conversation

  • Sarah

    This is terrible. There should be laws against judges granting anyone special treatment. Then we could lock up this judge along with the rest of the criminals.

  • Lydia

    Thanks for this post. It’s totally outrageous that Mayweather’s sentence would be delayed because of his fight. No other career gives that kind of perks (well, except maybe international diplomat).

    But I do want to mention another incredibly important wrinkle to this, which I have never seen discussed on any feminist blog: athletes who suffer massive trauma to the head throughout their careers likely suffer from a condition called Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. One common byproduct of CTE is aggressive impulses. I just wrote about this yesterday on my blog, Bloomer Girls Blog ( I’m not by any means giving Mayweather a free pass for his actions, because we don’t know who his head injuries have affected his behavior. But I think when we talk about athletes committing violent acts and intimate partner violence, we can’t ignore this part of the story. Protecting athletes from head trauma and figuring out how to deal with concussions etc will in turn help women and curb instances of domestic abuse. Ok, rant done!

  • Brüno

    Maybe it has to do with the fact they have lots of money? Justizia might be blind, but there are so many rulings and so many possibilities for judges to go any way, that basically they can sell out “justice” to the highest bidder. In a system with so much leeway and possibilities to interpret it is easy for a system to establish, where judges measure who puts how much money on the altar of justice and pet those who shell out and penalize those who come up short.

    I am getting the impression expensive lawyers arent so successful because they are so good, but merely because they are expensive. The Judge sees you invested a lot of money in the system he is part of and he likes it and he pets you for it. But if on the other hand he sees that you are a cheapstake, because its self evident you are not guilty and there really is not much of a case against you, you will be surprised at the possibilities a judge has to smite you for being a cheapskate.

    • Robert

      I agree and I will also like to add that many domestic violence offenders are repeat offenders. That means someone with lots of cash like a pro athlete will probably be back in court in the future to pay even more cash. Speaking about money and court, federal defense lawyers work hard to get rapists and pedophiles released because they know they will be back in court again. This means a steady cash flow for these lawyers. It all comes down to money.

      • Brüno

        Its the job of a federal defense lawyer to get the defendant released. A rape case oftentimes goes nowhere, because sex is not forbidden and a rape is hard to proof, if the victim does not turn to the police straight away to secure anything that can serve as evidence.

        It is about the judge and the liberites he has. There are so many laws, a judge can rule either way oftentimes. So rather than being impartial he can be like, he smacked that b+tch, but he payed good money for his lawyer, while she payed zilck, so f*ck her. If there are so many laws that there is no clear cut case anymore, then what good is the lawcode, unless you want to give the judge the possibility to pet those who spend a lot in the courtroom and penalize those who do not.