Domestic violence more than just an NFL issue

It’s been one month since TMZ released surveillance video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice viciously assaulting his then fiancé Janay Palmer in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino.
Video surfaced in February of this year of Rice dragging an unconscious Palmer out of the elevator, and domestic assault charges were brought against Rice by a New Jersey grand jury. Multiple reports say the NFL knew of the issue, but the NFL now claims didn’t know the extent of the assault until the second tape, released the public in September.
Since the release of the second tape, Rice has been suspended indefinitely from the NFL, as has Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson after reports that he had hit his son with a switch, “as discipline,” During the same time, Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Greg Hardy was convicted of assaulting a female, and Arizona Cardinals running back Johnathan Dwyer, just this week plead not guilty to assaulting his wife in July.
The four players mentioned are all top players for their teams, ones that people, especially children look up to and in some cases try to model their lives after. But are NFL players, or professional athletes in general, really people that should be role models?
Rice, Hardy, Peterson and Dwyer are just the latest star players to have legal issues. Mind you, current Bears wide receiver Santonio Holmes had legal issues throughout his time at Ohio State and in the NFL. When with the Steelers, Holmes was accused of throwing multiple drink glasses at his wife after an argument at a bar.
A man that people argue could be a hall of famer, Ray Lewis, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens, was accused and indicted for murder, but was only convicted of obstructing justice after taking a plea deal.
These are just a few of the problems in one of the most public companies in the United States. I could fill this page with similar incidents from the NHL, Major League Baseball, the NBA and even the PGA Tour. The issue is that there is an intensified spotlight on the athletes, and cases like this are often subject to more scrutiny; domestic violence is an issue bigger than the NFL, or professional sports.
Since graduating from Clarion, I have been lucky enough to find a job at a television station in Youngstown, Ohio. As part of my job I regularly look at police reports and talk to police sergeants, captains and chiefs. In my short time in the media, the number of police reports I’ve read or calls I’ve heard over the scanners about domestic abuse issues is alarming. Several studies from governmental and private organizations show that one in four women and one in three men are victims of domestic violence in their life. The studies also say that more than three million children witness violence at their home in their lives.
The numbers don’t lie. Domestic violence has been and will continue to be an issue in every aspect of the country for people in the limelight and those outside its glow. As I’ve learned, there are some people that will be perfectly content to let those guilty of beating their children, wife or girlfriend, as long as they can take the field or court and help the team win, which in itself is disturbing, that some are so willing to turn a blind eye to a huge problem facing the country as long as it can help them.
I’ve always believed violence is never the answer, and any person who intentionally and maliciously harms people they claim to love and care for should be put away for a long, long time.

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