ESPN's Hannah Storm questioned the NFL's integrity and its relationship with female fans during a passionate monologue before the league's slate of games kicked off on Sunday. During a poignant moment on at the conclusion of "SportsCenter," Storm reflected on what it had been like answering her daughters' "seemingly impossible questions" about the Ray Rice domestic violence scandal before moving posing some meaningful questions of her own.
"What does all of this mean for the future? What does it mean for female fans, whose dollars are so coveted by the NFL, who make up an estimated 45 percent of the NFL's fan base?" she asked while seemingly holding back tears. "Are fans and are families, are we as parents supposed to compartmentalize everything that's happening? Are we supposed to simply separate a violent game on the field from violent acts off the field? And if we do, what message does that send?"
Storm chastised the NFL and the Baltimore Ravens for needing to see the video of Rice punching his then-fiancee and now wife in the face in a casino elevator, released on Monday by TMZ, before taking action. At the end of the segment, Storm started to question what "zero tolerance" means to everyone involved in the NFL, from coaches and the players' union to owners and general managers.
"In the NFL, apparently seeing is believing," Storm continued. "If the NFL and the Ravens had to see that video to be moved to significant action, then shouldn't those who support the league demand the same? To see action? To see change before believing, as we all wait on the answer to the central question: what exactly does the NFL stand for?"