Former Vice President Joe Biden took a slap at the National Football League by saying it has not done enough for the #MeToo sexual harassment movement, even after the league kicked in to help host Biden’s new “Courage” awards.
Biden appeared at the first “Biden Courage Awards” event held in New York City at the Russian Tea Room on April 18 where he officiated over the first-ever award of his eponymous prize to recognize “student heroes,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
During the night’s presentation, Biden read a congratulatory letter from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell noting that the NFL was helping to sponsor the awards. But even as Barack Obama’s number two man thanked the NFL for its contributions, Biden also criticized the league.
At one point, Biden exclaimed, “we are the leading edge in the world in terms of changing attitudes towards women,” and then added that we are at a “moment where the consciousness of the American people has been awakened,” and that we are “ripping the Band-Aid off the dirty little secret that’s existed in this country for years.”
But then he took an aside aimed at the NFL.
“By the way, the NFL — thank you for your contribution,” Biden said from the podium. “But Roger, you’ve gotta do a hell of a lot more than you’re doing. I really mean it: The contribution is significant, and they mean well,” he said to the cheering crowd.
The former vice president and Delaware senator scolded professional sports for the “lip service” given to the #MeToo movement.
“I’ve called on all the major sports leagues to take part [in the It’s On Us campaign] — not just lip service, but actually, actually make a price be paid,” Biden bragged. “Until the price is paid, men will continue to think it’s OK. [They’ll] say, ‘Well, it wasn’t rape. All I did was grab her and bend her arm down and say, ‘What are you doing?’ I just slapped her across the face. What’s the problem?’ The problem is it generates conduct beyond that that’s even worse.”
Biden later went on to slam “fat, ugly men with power.”
Alluding to Hollywood movie mogul and sexual assault suspect Harvey Weinstein, Biden added, “this is not about sex, this is about power…usually fat, ugly men with power using their power as you saw with that creep.” After that jab, Biden averred that “I shouldn’t be saying this, I’m a former Vice President. I should be more in decorum.”
Biden ended his remarks warning that “silence is complicity” and “silence is consent” for sexual assault.
In attendance at the former VP’s harangue were such celebrities as actors Connie Britton, Adam Devine, and Matt McGorry as well as magazine editors such as Elaine Welteroth (Teen Vogue), Michelle Promaulayko (Cosmopolitan), and Jay Fielden (Esquire), the Reporter said.
A video of the night’s proceedings can be seen at Cosmopolitan’s Periscope page.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.