Dealing with Domestic Violence – Is the NFL Doing Enough?
Domestic violence is a dangerous family matter that goes from private to public in the blink of an eye. It is this raised eyebrow of awareness that puts big football names like Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, and Adrian Peterson on the newsstands.
Seeing “NFL” and “domestic violence” trending in the same sentence is unfortunately nothing new. It seems that every year, we hear of a professional sports player being involved in a violent altercation with a family member. Revelations of their horrible acts invade our morning news. Images, videos, and past interviews are replayed and displayed. Fans anxiously wait to hear news of whether or not the players are removed from the team’s roster.
Every year, though, their names disappear from the headlines. Football season comes and goes, but the awareness of domestic violence should not. The NFL is taking these repetitious occurrences seriously this year, or at least they seem to be. They are taking actions to raise awareness. According to USA Today, they’ve partnered up with anti-domestic violence advocates to create public service announcements to be shown during games. Because NFL games’ broadcasts are some of the most viewed television, these PSAs would reach millions. You may have seen these PSAs as you watched the St. Louis Rams recently play.
While these efforts are noticeable and commendable, critics wonder whether or not this is enough. It shouldn’t be the latest NFL pariah or moving television advertisement that makes us realize that domestic violence affects over 10 million men and women a year.
According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 1 in 3 women, in their lifetime, have undergone some type of physical violence by an intimate partner; 1 in 4 men have. They’ve termed domestic violence an epidemic in the US, and not just amongst the professional football players.
While this disease infects homes across the country, not every household’s battle is displayed across America’s televisions. As a domestic violence attorney, I see delicate, private, and emotional family matters walk into my office on a regular basis.
While I hope it does, I wonder: will NFL’s public advocacy in the media truly make a difference for victims of domestic violence?