The National Football League thrives on publicity.
Generally, anything that focuses attention on America’s favorite sport would be welcomed by the league. But in the past few weeks, with the fallout from the video showing the Baltimore Raven’s Ray Rice punching his then fiancée now wife, Janay Palmer in an elevator, the NFL has been receiving the kind of publicity it really doesn’t need – or want.
The NFL has a real problem on its hands, a problem that goes much deeper than the league has recognized to date. The fact is that players in the National Football League have a problem with domestic violence assaults. More than half the crimes committed by NFL are domestic cases, according to an AP report showing that out of about 2,500 players attached to NFL teams, there were more than 80 domestic violence arrests.
The NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry. It seems easy enough that one way to gain social favor is for the NFL to start a foundation for victims of domestic violence.
It also would make sense for the NFL to start a campaign raising awareness to intolerance for domestic violence.
Given the figures, that leaves a lot of players in positive light. Use them to show they are family men. They respect women and children. And, that these players and coaches – and NFL officials – will not tolerate, condone or stand beside anyone who abuses women and children.
Commercials with athletes work. Fans young and old will see this behavior as unacceptable. And, maybe it can help to break a cycle of domestic violence in the U.S.
Some facts according to safehorizon.org:
• 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
• Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is killed by her current or former partner.
• Every year, more than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes.
• According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, domestic violence is the third leading cause of homelessness among families.
• Without help, boys who witness domestic violence are far more likely to become abusers of their partners and/or children as adults, thus continuing the cycle of violence in the next generation.
• Domestic violence costs more than $37 billion a year in law enforcement involvement, legal work, medical and mental health treatment and lost productivity at companies.
• Most domestic violence incidents are never reported.
It shouldn’t just be female senators urging the NFL to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on domestic violence. We all should. It’s time to speak up. It’s time to take action.