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Hannah Storm, A Pro, Fan And Mother, Gives NFL An Earful

This has been called a long and tough week for the NFL. But ESPN's Hannah Storm asked some tough questions on Sunday's SportsCenterthat show how hard the week has been for the league's fans — especially for parents who struggle to reconcile their love for the game with its off-field violence.

A lifelong football fan who's also the mother of three daughters, Storm didn't hold back on her emotions when discussing the NFL's response to what she calls the "horrific Ray Rice elevator video" – and how it also dominated conversations in her home.

We'll summarize her remarks below — but Storm says it best, in the video clip above.

"On Monday morning, I was genuinely excited to come to work and break down what I thought was a fascinating first weekend in the NFL. Instead, I kicked off ESPN's coverage of the horrific Ray Rice elevator video.

"Meanwhile, one of my daughters has her first fantasy football team this season. But at breakfast this week, instead of discussing how her team was doing, we watched the Ray Rice video play out again, in all its ugliness.

"I spent this week answering seemingly impossible questions about the league's biggest stars: Mom, why did he do that? Why isn't he in jail? Why didn't he get fired?

"And yesterday: Why don't they even have control of their own players?

"So here's a question: 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?"

Storm went on to ask more questions:

"What exactly does zero tolerance mean to the NFL?"

"What about the NFLPA [NFL Players Association]?"

"Will the NFL, in all its power, take the lead on the issue of domestic violence?"

Storm finished her remarks by asking what she called "the central question: What exactly does the NFL stand for?"

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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