The ABC show “The View” returned on Monday with some new and old faces. Rosie O’Donnell, who left the show following the 2007 season, is back, in full force, and she still has plenty to say.
Whoopi Goldberg remains moderator and the four women still need time to learn their roles and develop a chemistry and rhythm that will keep viewers interested. However, as O’Donnell and the other women (newcomers Rosie Perez and Nicolle Wallace) discussed various hot topics, O’Donnell decided to weigh in on the Ray Rice controversy.
What’s interesting to me is that we, as a country, support football. They’ve had studies that show it’s life-threatening to every player. They have traumatic brain injuries. They’re taking steroids, which really changes their judgment. They’re encouraged and paid to be violent. Same with fighters, with boxers. It would be wonderful if they were able to separate the violence of their job with the violence in their life, but I don’t think that’s how human brains work. And believe me I don’t excuse any violence towards anyone, but I do understand how a guy who knocks people over and pushes them down for a living and gets cheered might do that in his private life, even though it’s wrong.
Perez who is a boxing fan disagreed and pointed out that Nelson Mandela was a boxer who was peaceful. Perez’s statement seems to point towards personal responsibility and decision-making end of the spectrum and that we can’t blame players’ violent behavior in life on the fact that they play a violent sport.
Is this true? Can the two be separated? Can a society support sports that thrive on violence – football and boxing being at the top of the list – and then be shocked when that violence spills over into the player’s everyday life?
O’Donnell treats the human brain like a light switch that is either on or off, wired for violence or not. The violent behavior is boiled down – making everything seem black and white with no shades of gray, no nuance, and no deeper analysis on the potential roles of environment or the cycle of violence. Of course O’Donnell is not a scientist specializing in brain study, it’s just her opinion.
But is it valid?