Annie Apple Is Not Afraid Of The NFL & That’s A Very Big Deal
Annie Apple, the outspoken mother of Giants rookie cornerback Eli Apple, has been in the public eye since she delighted the world with her tweets during the NFL Draft. Her son was picked 10th overall, and she has been an NFL media mainstay ever since. As it turns out, she's a more essential voice than we ever could've known.
On Thursday Apple tweeted her staunch disapproval of Giants owner John Mara's callous remarks regarding his kicker, Josh Brown, who admitted to serial domestic violence against his wife.
Many NFL and Giants fans expressed their support and their agreement that the league must finally answer for this egregious behavior. But as is always the case with the internet, there were also plenty of detractors; users who lambasted Apple for the supposed hypocrisy of criticizing her son's employer.
Yeah, she wasn't having any of that.
In a heart-wrenching column for Sports Illustrated, published Sunday morning while the Giants and her son played a football game across the Atlantic in London, Apple doubled-down on her criticism of John Mara and the NFL at large.
"The comments made by John Mara, owner of the New York Giants, were insensitive, dismissive and callous, wrote Apple. "How are you a so-called champion of domestic violence but lack basic compassion for a victim? Yes, this man signs my son's checks as I've been reminded on Twitter. Mr. Mara owns the New York Giants. He doesn't own Annie Apple. Wrong is wrong. And Mr. Mara's comments were unapologetically wrong and hit at a raw place."
Apple nailed it, and while she isn't the only one expressing this sentiment, she is the only one with a widely-read platform that also happens to be the mother of the Giants most recent first-round draft pick.
She went on to detail her horrific, extensive experience with life-threatening domestic violence, and what it took for her to finally escape the nightmare that she lived for years.
"I may not recall all the many other violent episodes of abuse but I will never forget the day I finally left: Sunday, Feb. 12, 1995... He was upstairs being verbally abusive; so I decided to come downstairs to wait on my ride. When he came downstairs, he said something to me and I did not respond. I didn't want to say anything that would set him off because you're made to feel you're the cause of your own suffering. He grabbed my head and banged it against the wall, leaving a dent in the drywall. I saw my two little boys looking at me with fear in their eyes. It tore my soul to the core. Something in me broke. I knew today would be the last day... Even if I didn't know I deserved better, I knew my kids did...
...I told this female minister what was happening to me, that I was leaving him. I will never forget her response. She told me I was lucky to have a man and who else would want me with three kids. I asked her to take me to my mom's house. She did. I ran up to my old room and I cried. Six months later I had Eli. I never looked back. I never went back."
There is a large portion of our society that believes Apple should be grateful to the Maras for "giving her son a chance" at the kind of life most kids dream of. But what I know, as a woman and a daughter, is that there is one person who is responsible for giving her son the chance at the life he has now:
She is a woman that is unencumbered by the outdated notion that a paycheck from the great National Football League somehow strips her of her right to free speech. What a revelation! The importance of Apple refusing to cow-tow to the NFL's public relations machine cannot be overstated.
The NFL has gotten away with a lot over the years; just as any corporation with that much money and influence generally does. They silenced doctors and former players who claimed for years that CTE and concussion-related illnesses were a real problem. Not only did the NFL was willfully ignore the truth, they simultaneously participated in dangerous practices that led to more injuries and more brain damage. They did not stop until the bubble burst and they could no longer realistically ignore the science, and the word of mouth that the new digital age facilitates.
They are now doing the exact same thing with the systemic issue of domestic violence perpetrated by their football players. And countless victims - wives, girlfriends and others - are silenced out of fear and belief that they have no shot of going up against the NFL. Can you blame them? It's the same league that tried to protect an angry and violent Ray Rice by deliberately refusing to watch video evidence of him beating his fiance and dragging her by her hair out of an elevator.
Apple having the courage to speak out against Mara and the league does not make her a hypocrite, nor does it make her disloyal or ungrateful. Apple's words are a battle cry for change, and with any luck, her voice is one that the NFL can't ignore.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.