Pryor Inquires: Ethical Consumption

Kareem Hunt, who was shown shoving, bull-rushing, and kicking” a woman in Cleveland in February in a TMZ video. Photo courtesy of google.

By Richard Pryor III
Executive Staff

Can there be ethical consumption in a capitalist society? This question may be one of the great debates of our time period, and it was this question that returned to my head last week.

Kareem Hunt, I learned this week, hails from my area of Northeast Ohio. Last season, as a rookie running back for the Kansas City Chiefs, he was the NFL rushing yards leader. This season, he has still been one of the better rushers in the league. At least, until last week, when TMZ revealed a video of Hunt “shoving, bull-rushing, and kicking” a woman in Cleveland in February. However, the most shocking part was that the NFL and the Chiefs apparently had launched an investigation into it, and they just took Hunt’s word on this.

The NFL made a similar mistake in 2014 with the case of Ray Rice. This is the second time the NFL has messed up in the realm of domestic violence and the second time it has made themselves look bad. Can one ethically consume the NFL when it bungles and messes up in cases of domestic violence and other crimes?

I’m not sure that one can ethically consume many things in this world – a number of industries, especially in entertainment (and I include sports in this), are built on a foundation of inequality and exploitation. But then the question becomes, can one ethically consume in a culture which is built up with so many exploitative institutions? I’m open to your thoughts and suggestions – comment on the website of The Purple or shoot me an email. But here’s what I think.

I think we can ethically consume some things that are built on exploitation if you recognize that it is exploitative and then you work to change those things as a concerned fan or something similar. But there is very clearly a line between something that’s merely just making some really dumb mistakes (like the NFL) and something that is openly exploitative of their major workers (like the NCAA). Our outrage culture is too much, as Fleming Smith (C’19) reminded me recently and we need to tailor our outrage – something I’m not sure we’re actually good at doing as a society. Maybe that can be our New Year’s Resolution.