When it Comes to Violence Against Women, the NFL Continues to Fumble


 

 
 

 
 

 
 

When it Comes to Violence Against Women, the NFL Continues to Fumble

“His Talent Saved Him.”

Despite the NFL’s voiced commitment to ending violence against women, it has a pretty paltry track record: according to ESPN’s ‘Outside the Lines’, “out of 48 players considered guilty of domestic violence under the league policy between 2000 through 2014, the league suspended players for one game or not at all in 88 percent of the cases. Twenty-seven players — or 56 percent — received no suspension, and 15 others were forced to sit out one game.”

For a league that wants to be taken seriously when it says “No More”, this is certainly a disturbing statistic. It is even more shocking, however, when put into its proper context. During the same time period, much stiffer penalties have been handed out for substance abuse violations, as pointed out by ESPN: “[substance abuse violations] resulted in suspensions of four games or more in 82 percent of such cases.”

There is a perennial problem in the NFL, and—as usual—it is complicated by money: athletes are expected to be aggressive and formidable on-the-field, but many have difficulty turning it off when the game has ended.

Take the latest example, for instance. Greg Hardy was convicted of assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. She accused Hardy of strangling her, slamming her against furniture and, eventually, throwing her onto a couch covered with guns. If there was a clear-cut case to expel a player from the league, this would be it. Yet, even in the face of policy changes made after the infamous Ray Rice incident, Hardy only served a four-game suspension—returning to quickly make a fool of himself by throwing a tantrum aimed at his special teams coach.

Commenting on the incident, Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson remarked “It’s unfortunate the things that went on with him. I don’t agree with hitting women or any domestic violence,” Johnson said. “As far as the talent level, he has all the ability to be in the NFL . . . Greg Hardy is one of the best defensive ends in the league. His talent saved him.”

That’s really the bottom line, isn’t it? Domestic Violence is wrong, but you get a pass if you’re a star athlete. Perhaps it is time to recall the memo NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent out to the teams: “Domestic violence and sexual assault are wrong. They are illegal. They are never acceptable and have no place in the NFL under any circumstances.”

We feel it is time Goodell lived up to his words.

 

 

 

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• In March of 2014, Center for Victims launched the MEN Challenge & Pledge. This initiative was designed to engage more men in CV’s violence prevention programs and speak out about violence against women and girls. Domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault are often referred to as “women’s issues.”  These crimes are not just women’s issues, they are a public health issues and everyone’s business.

 

Center for Victims believes men need to be a part of the solution and that they do want to be actively involved in violence prevention, but don’t know where to start or what to do. The MEN Challenge & Pledge gives men a place to start. Our goal is to educate and give men and the community the tools and resources necessary to use their voices and their actions to be social change agents.

 

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Friday March 6, 2015 | Rivers Casino Drum Bar

Center for Victims is hosting the 1st annual MEN Challenge Event in honor and recognition of the 256 men (and counting!) who have signed on to the MEN challenge, committed to this initiative and its value, and who embody CV’s violence prevention efforts in this region. Men who have shown a greater interest and who have worked on specific prevention and/or awareness projects will be highlighted and nominated for the MEN Challenge award. The winner of this award will be announced at the 10th Anniversary of Center for Victims’ Peace It Together Awards Celebration on March 12, 2015 at Pittsburgh’s Grand hall at The Priory.

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