Why Has Floyd Mayweather’s Domestic Violence History Been Ignored In Fight Run-Up?

by NESN Staff

August 24, 2017

Conor McGregor has received plenty of criticism over offensive and bigoted comments he made during his press tour with Floyd Mayweather, and rightfully so.

Even before McGregor told Mayweather to “dance for me, boy,” the Irish UFC star made racist comments toward opponents Jose Aldo and Nate Diaz in 2015 and 2016, respectively. But even though McGregor deserves to be called out for his ignorance, it’s seemingly taken the spotlight off some of the more unsavory parts of Mayweather’s past.

Somehow, despite the fact that the Aug. 26 showdown is set to be one of the most profitable boxing matches in history, Mayweather managed to get out of the press tour without much mention of his history of domestic violence. McGregor made a few passing comments about it, but even he was accused of minimizing Mayweather’s violence toward women by one of his victims.

So how did it come to be this way?

First of all, it’s important to mention Mayweather is, undoubtedly, a domestic abuser, even though he once told Rachel Nichols in 2014 that “nothing has been proven.” Mayweather was convicted of abusing Melisa Brim, the mother of his oldest daughter, in 2001 and two female friends of Josie Harris, the mother of three of his four children, in 2003, though those charges were “dismissed per negotiations.”

Harris took him to court again in 2005 for allegedly kicking her and dragging her out of his car, but she changed her story on the witness stand and said she lied about Mayweather’s history. However, perhaps the worst instance of his abuse came in 2010, when he beat Harris in front of their children — his then 10-year-old son even gave an account of the fight to Las Vegas police — and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.

But even with such damning evidence, there are a few reasons Mayweather has been able to get off the hook. For starters, McGregor’s insistence on opening his mouth all the time has turned the 40-year-old into somewhat of a victim in this fight; people have an easier time focusing on something that was said in July rather than something that happened seven years ago.

But it also has to do with the American attitude toward domestic violence and who his victims were.

You’d have a hard time finding someone who won’t say that domestic violence is disgusting, but when it comes to actual accusations, there’s a tendency not to believe victims. This is abundantly clear when you look at the National Criminal Justice Reference Service’s statistics that show that approximately one in four women will be victims of intimate partner abuse in their lifetime, but only 26.7 percent of them report it.

The No. 1 reason women don’t report domestic violence is that they believe police can’t do anything or won’t believe them. They have good reason to think that, too, as nearly 93 percent of perpetrators are never even prosecuted.

Mayweather was convicted three times, but he gets away with it in part because all of his victims are black women. Black women are 35 percent more likely to experience domestic violence than white women, and as we just pointed out, they rarely get justice. Society has a tendency to sexualize black women and girls from a young age, and it fuels the falsehood that they’re somehow less trustworthy and more manipulative.

The boxer also constantly repeats the fact that there is no video or photos, and that’s very much by design. Deadspin found that evidence either was destroyed or locked away by Las Vegas police, making it pretty much impossible for anyone to get their hands on it. We saw the power of video when it came to former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, and Mayweather almost certainly would be viewed the same way if anything came to light.

The good news is that you don’t have to root for either Mayweather or McGregor. And if you want to learn more about Mayweather’s history, you can read Harris’ 2014 account to USA TODAY in which his own son — the same one who witnessed the 2010 attack — calls him a coward.

If that’s not damning enough, we don’t know what is.

Thumbnail photo via Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports Images

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