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Friday, May 8, 2015

Domestic Violence & Professional Football Players: First time a player hits a woman shame on him; second time he abuses her shame of the NFL

Domestic Violence & Professional Football Players: First time a player hits a woman shame on him; second time he abuses her shame of the NFL

After last year’s fiascos when Ray Rice was captured on video brutally assaulting his then girlfriend and pictures of Adrian Peterson’s son with flogging stripes covering his tiny little body, the public became incensed. It seemed the NFL was finally taking a stance and making families the priority. Roger Goodell admitted they didn’t get it right. He stood up and promised to make changes to ensure the safety of women and children. Now that there’s been time for the dust to settle, the Seattle Seahawks make headlines by drafting Frank Clark last week knowing he has potential for further violence. In countless articles, Clark has been reported, as having persistent disorderly conduct, being intoxicated while assaulting Hurt and he pled guilty for a home invasions yet these behaviors weren’t enough to warrant "Conduct unbecoming of a professional athlete." Photographs illustrate the extent of damage he inflicted upon Diamond Hurt where he left her battered and bruised yet the Seahawks are openly embracing their new star without any intervention. They are unwittingly glamorizing abuse—making violence against women and children socially acceptable. 

Professional sports at one time demonstrated integrity and represented what real men were Athletes served as role models for our young boys to aspire to be someday. The message being sent perfectly clear to our youth is that money and talent out trump social expectations and that players don’t have to follow basic fundamental rules. Interpersonal violence is a grooming process where abusive behaviors become habits. Frank Clark isn’t necessarily a bad person but he does at a minimum have unhealthy interpersonal skills. He needs help. I work with families in recovery from violence and ironically when they are given replacement skills they use them. This young man needs education and training. He needs to be reinforced that he has a responsibility to our youth. He needs to take ownership of what he has done and work toward never violating anyone else ever again. And lastly, the NFL needs to step in and say this is not okay. Players show up for practice so they don’t get cut from the team; they don’t spit on refs because they know they aren’t allowed to. Domestic violence ONLY happens because nobody is stopping it. We have a unique opportunity to build this young man in a healthier direction. We teach players how to take timeouts during games but not off the field. This is an injustice—a wrong we can make right. Stay tune for my next blog!

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