Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch got a little carried away after his team won the NFC championship game on Jan. 18.
He grabbed his crotch in celebration — an “obscene gesture” that led the National Football League (NFL) to decide to fine him $20,000, SB Nation reported. It wasn’t the only time the league made Lynch pay up — he also has to hand over $100,000 — two fines of $50,000 — for refusing to speak to the media during press sessions.
To State Rep. Drew MacEwen from Washington, however, Lynch’s crotch-grabbing and disdain for the press is far less obscene than the NFL’s handling of last year’s domestic assault cases involving players and their families, according to The Seattle Times. According to him, it’s outrageous that Lynch would be charged $100,000 for avoiding interviews, while former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice would be given just a two-game suspension for physically assaulting his then-fiancee.
In response to the injustice, MacEwen introduced a bill on Thursday that would funnel fines from Seattle football players into Washington state charities. Currently, fines like Lynch’s benefit the NFL’s football-related national charities, past statements from league officials claim.
“I’m trying to raise the awareness of the hypocrisy right now with the league — the domestic violence issues, the assault issues,” MacEwen told The Seattle Times. “In my opinion [the NFL] kind of threw it under the rug … It blows me away how they’ve treated those two separate issues.”
MacEwen joins advocates near and far who are upset with the NFL ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl game between the Seahawks and New England Patriots. As NBC 4 News reported, women’s rights group UltraViolet launched a 15-second ad aimed at highlighting the league’s alleged mishandling of domestic violence cases throughout the past year.
The ad, which depicts a football player tackling a woman and encourages viewers to share its message using the #GoodellMustGo hashtag, blames NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for failing to keep abusers in-check.
“It is clear that Roger Goodell’s NFL took no initiative to prosecute domestic abusers and protect their victims and it is clear that the NFL will not take domestic violence seriously until Roger Goodell is gone,” UltraViolet co-founder Shaunna Thomas said in a statement, according to NBC 4.
MacEwen said he hopes local charitable efforts that would benefit from the NFL fines will in part be focused on families affected by domestic violence, should his bill pass.
“Women and children’s shelters would be fantastic,” he said, according to Komo News. “Food banks certainly. Ideally, let the player that’s been fined, let him choose it and as long as it’s in Washington state I think we’re good with that.”
The bill, however, has a tough road ahead before becoming law. As The Seattle Times pointed out, even the Republican lawmaker admits he’s unsure if Washington state has the ability to enforce it, as the NFL is headquartered in New York City and inter-state commerce is overseen by the federal government. Legislation aside, MacEwen said he hopes the bill sends a message about the NFL’s recent hypocrisy.
Komo News reported that the bill does not have a hearing date yet.