Male, female and everywhere in between… domestic violence doesn’t discriminate who it affects, or the people that abuse others. In the last decade, I’ve seen athletes abuse their status and walk away without conviction of some incredibly chilling cases of domestic violence. Where do you draw the line? When do you finally hold someone accountable for their horrific actions? It certainly wasn’t done this morning during an interview of former Chiefs RB, Larry Johnson. It certainly wasn’t laid to rest with the victims of his “misplaced emotions” and their families. What moron decided that giving a seasoned manipulator a platform to voice his #hottakes on Jamaal Charles’ departure from Kansas City and more? Regardless of the person in charge of that decision, the message was received loud and clear. Some sports programs still prefer hero worship and giving an unapologetic abuser a platform instead of thinking about the victims that have tried to put Larry Johnson’s violent acts behind them.
I’ve seen comments ranging anywhere from that I’m biased, didn’t go into listening to the interview with an open mind and so on. I can’t change your mind of your opinion of me. I will tell you that unlike some, I don’t share my experiences with domestic violence or sexual assault constantly because I don’t want to relive it. I’ve been around men that make all sorts of domestic violence jokes and expect me to laugh along since it’s “just a joke.” I didn’t think it was much of a joke when I was being told to “drop the charges, he will never do this to you again.” I didn’t think it was much of a joke when I was filing a police report against the man that attacked me while pregnant and terrified. I didn’t think it was much of a joke when I was attacked last year by someone I thought I was safe around. So yes, I was apprehensive going into listening to this interview, questioning if I really wanted to hear something from Larry Johnson’s mouth. I listened anyways and I’m glad I did.
Hearing Larry be introduced so kindly and easing into questions about his opinion on Jamaal Charles was eerie. I didn’t understand the excitement in their voices about talking to the man that hurt so many people during his time in Kansas City. Larry seemed at ease, like he had all the right answers. He knew how speak eloquently and stuck to answering the questions given to him and didn’t shy away from his past. To that, I respect his appearance on the show. Oddly enough, that is where my respect ends.
Tension building, acute battering episode, the honeymoon phase. Repeat.
Larry Johnson claims his daughter saved him from the man he was while in Kansas City. His daughter was born in 2010, his next arrest for domestic violence and damn near choking a woman to death? 2012. From 2003-2008, Larry Johnson was arrested four times for violence against women. Sadly, there was probably more that went on behind closed doors but because of who he was, it wasn’t reported. Four times in five years isn’t just an attitude problem, it’s a character flaw. Four times in five years isn’t just being immature, it’s being entitled to violent actions. Four times in five years isn’t just a bad spot in life, it is a mental health issue that Larry Johnson actually blamed in his interview as well.
Johnson admitted that “they” GAVE him the ability to manipulate women and abuse them at the slightest chance. While I never heard a direct apology, to the untrained ear, it sure sounded like he was sorry. Larry Johnson isn’t sorry for what he did, he is sorry that he ran out of people to manipulate and convince them he is a changed man. What did Larry Johnson do following his “no contest” plea deal for strangling a woman in Las Vegas? He went to work at one of Miami Beach’s most reputable strip clubs manning the DJ booth. Fitting for a man that was “changed” and showed so much remorse. What happened after that? Johnson was arrested in 2014 for viciously beating a man with a tall vodka glass and causing him to be hospitalized with his injuries. Yes, Johnson seemed very changed after his daughter being born in 2010.
What bothered me the most about this interview was the glorification and gushing about how CHANGED Larry Johnson seems after his part of the interview was complete. I was disgusted with a short 20 minute clip determining that Larry Johnson no longer beats women within an inch of their lives. Clearly, because he blamed alcohol, anger, mismanaged emotions, his childhood and circumstance he is a CHANGED man. How could his own words ever be wrong, after all he is a self proclaimed manipulator of women… why would he lie about his newfound changes in life?
Abusers lie. Abusers manipulate. Abusers will tell you what you want to hear.
That is exactly what Larry Johnson did and if you are foolish enough to believe he has changed, nothing I can say will change your mind.
To the women out there that might be reading this, please know that Sprots Takes will never stand for flip flopping on supporting domestic violence when it helps us out. Sprots Takes has taken a stance since day one that domestic violence is completely unacceptable. We worked with Rose Brooks Center before it was trendy to care about women over a draft pick. We have multiple women on staff, including myself, that survived sexual assault and domestic violence first hand. We will continue to stick to our stance, no matter who wants to come on our show. Our one hour of air time a week might be small compared to the hours of airtime other people have each week… but we WILL use it for good. I will NOT stand for hypocrisy on the issue of domestic violence. You don’t get to claim to support women and then have absolutely no one representing the female opinion on air. We are so lucky to work with a growing and supportive platform that has brought Kansas City the first ever female sports radio show. We are proud to give the female sports fans a voice, even on issues that may be difficult to discuss.
To those of you that believe selective outrage is acceptable, do better. Do better for the women that you claim to care about so much. Do better for yourselves. Do better because we certainly are.
For anyone needing help or someone to talk to, The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1.800.799.7233