Parker Molloy
September 16, 2014 9:26 am

Over the weekend, Twitter users not-so-subtly told the National Football League “enough is enough” with its attitude toward and clumsy handling of the Ray Rice domestic violence incident. With a now-iconic Photoshopped image, featuring one of the NFL and CoverGirl’s “game face” makeup ads overlaid with a black eye, along with the hashtag #GoodellMustGo (referring to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell), thousands tweeted, shared, and sent a clear message that the public will not stand for the football league’s tolerant attitude toward violence against women and children.

Women make up 45 percent of all NFL fans—and, to capture that audience,  since last year CoverGirl has partnered with the NFL as their “Official Beauty Sponsor.” After last season’s nails-centric “fanicures” social media tie-in, the makeup brand expanded their involvement this year, rolling out dramatic eye shadow, liner, and mascara combinations to represent each of the NFL’s 32 teams. The co-branded attempt to engage women backfired when one Twitter user did this to the one of the CoverGirl “Gameface” promotional photos.

Women’s rights organization UltraViolet has launched a petition asking for the ouster of Goodell, and over the weekend, they flew banners over stadiums making use of the #GoodellMustGo hashtag. The reason behind this call to action involves a litany of leniency toward players’ alleged involvement in violent crimes.

On Sunday, the Carolina Panthers deactivated star defensive end Greg Hardy. In July, Hardy was convicted of assaulting his then-girlfriend and threatening to kill her. Despite his conviction, Goodell and the NFL opted against suspending the all-pro athlete. Oddly, while he was not reprimanded for the assault at the time, the league fined Hardy over $5,000 for violating the league’s uniform code and wearing gold cleats during a game last season.

The Minnesota Vikings deactivated star running back Adrian Peterson for last weekend’s game after Peterson was arrested on child abuse charges as rumors swirled that Peterson had injured one of his children by allegedly hitting him with a tree branch. The Vikings have indicated that they do expect Peterson to play this weekend.

On August 31st, San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald was arrested on felony domestic violence charges. Despite 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh claiming that his team would have “zero tolerance” for players who engage in violent behavior against women, McDonald has started each of the team’s two games this season. In an odd coincidence, Harbaugh’s brother John is the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens, making him Ray Rice’s former coach.

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the NFL has a violence problem. Violence against women, violence against children, and just violence, in general, has been overshadowing the game itself. While it is likely that the on-field brutality has been spilling into the personal lives of players for years, never before has the spotlight shone so brightly on these off-field atrocities as it does today.

Meanwhile, the campaign against Goodell has also become, as Jezebel put it, “a PR nightmare” for CoverGirl whose collaboration with the NFL raises concerns about the brand’s allegiances.

Yesterday, CoverGirl released a statement in response to the altered ad and their involvement with the NFL. “As a brand that has always supported women and stood for female empowerment, CoverGirl believes domestic violence is completely unacceptable,” their statement to USA Today read. “We developed our NFL program to celebrate the more than 80 million female football fans. In light of recent events, we have encouraged the NFL to take swift action on their path forward to address the issue of domestic violence.”

(Featured image via.)

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