What Floyd Mayweather Could Learn From Ray Rice
On May 2, millions of people will pony up $99.95 to make Floyd Mayweather, already the highest-paid man in sports, the beneficiary of a purse that could soar past $100 million.
At 38 years old, Mayweather's star is brighter than ever as his bout with Manny Pacquiao nears, the zeroes in his bank account so numerous they blur together and become fuzzy to the naked eye. He's given a hero's welcome everywhere he goes, from "The Tonight Show" to the ESPYS to the Kids' Choice Awards.
No one seems to care that he can't limit his fighting to the ring.
Despite increasing attention given to the countless accusations against him, multiple guilty pleas and jail time served, Mayweather has somehow dodged the fate of fellow domestic abuser Ray Rice. Rice remains out of work, now apparently embarking on an apology tour as he tries to get back into the NFL.
Chances of a Ray Rice return actually happening? Virtually zero. And that's not just because he's a 28-year-old running back. A lot of older, less talented players have been given a shot to contribute on NFL rosters.
So what is it, then? Why has Rice been blackballed in response to last February's assault while the long list of Mayweather's domestic violence incidents is, at best, tacked on as a P.S. at the end of every love letter begging him for another big fight?
Forget Mayweather's much-publicized betting slips, or the $25,000 mouth guards made of real $100 bills. Let's spend a few minutes talking about Floyd, not "Money."
Mayweather has been accused of assaulting five different women in at least seven different incidents going back a decade. He was also found guilty of battery for an August 2003 nightclub incident, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault and battery in connection to a 2005 bar fight and, just last month, a report surfaced that Mayweather allegedly put a rear naked choke on his ex-girlfriend's 19-year-old son.
For all the moral sermons we've collectively directed at the NFL for its violence issues, the boxing world and media -- including ESPN -- seem determined to ignore Mayweather's crimes. Again, why?
Part of it is the lack of a Roger Goodell-type central authority in boxing to punish Mayweather. And part of it is that the public hasn't seen video proof of his litany of alleged assaults. Mayweather reminds people of that whenever he gets the chance. "No bumps, no bruises, no nothing," he has said. "You guys have yet to see any pictures of a battered woman."
Ex-girlfriend Josie Harris, did, in fact, have bruises, and was treated for a concussion after an incident in September of 2010. Harris told Yahoo! Sports that she believes Mayweather purposely used "rabbit punches" to the back of her head in order to avoid leaving many visible marks. The assault took place in front of two of their three children and it was their son Koraun, then just 10 years old, who escaped the house that night to tell a security guard to call the police.
Despite pleading guilty to domestic violence and battery and being sentenced to 90 days in jail, Mayweather still denies any guilt. He recently told Katie Couric he was just trying to "restrain" Harris that night. Koraun told USA Today of his father's refusal to admit to his actions, "He is a coward."
But Mayweather says his lengthy rap sheet isn't an indication of guilt, but the result of having a target on his back. "I'm black. I'm rich. And I'm outspoken," he told Couric. "Those are three strikes right there."
Of course, most famous athletes are never once accused of domestic violence, while the accusations against Mayweather are so numerous, they're difficult to keep straight. And as for that whole "outspoken" thing, Mayweather's comments in television interviews and on social media serve only to drive home his reputation as a misogynist. Two infamous Money statements especially stand out.
In a 2014 Showtime documentary Mayweather compared girlfriends to cars, saying, "Even though you can't drive 10 cars at one time, you got people that got 10 cars. So you're able to keep maintenance on 10 cars. So I feel that as far as it comes to females, that same thing should apply. If you're able to take care of 20, then you should have 20."
Last June he posted on his Instagram, "How a female dresses is her advertisement. If a female shows half of her body, she's asking to be disrespected."
Despite his words and his actions, Mayweather has dodged criticism like so many jabs in the ring, while Rice's apology tour, as contrived and groan-inducing as it is, is at least an attempt to show remorse. Rice, beloved in Baltimore, known as a leader on the field and an advocate for anti-bullying off of it, is seeking forgiveness the old-fashioned way.
Maybe instead of making the media rounds with his head down, he should follow the Money path: Come up with a clever nickname and an outsized WWE persona that sucks the oxygen out of the room, enlist Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne to join your entourage, and watch people rush to be a part of the hype.
So what to do about Mayweather?
My solution is pretty simple, but may make you an outcast on May 2. Take your hundred bucks, donate half of it to a domestic violence cause and use the rest to take yourself out to a nice dinner. When someone inevitably complains to you about how boring Mayweather's 12-round unanimous decision victory was, respond by telling them what you did with your money instead.
And maybe throw in that you haven't seen any pictures or video evidence of the fight, so you're not even sure it happened.