NY--NFL teams help to hide domestic abuse
For immediate release: Monday, Nov. 17
NFL coaches and staff do with domestic violence what Catholic bishops do with child sex crimes – try very hard to handle crime quietly and “in house” without involving law enforcement. That’s what a new, two-part series by the New York Time shows. And that’s shameful.
It’s outrageous that Cincinnati Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis meet with an abusive player and his wife. A football coach! What on earth makes him qualified to interfere in a criminal matter or counsel a married couple?
And it’s outrageous that both husband and wife say that Lewis discouraged them from calling police. Shame on him.
The unhealthy ties between team staff and police agencies must end. Police officials should simply forbid officers from working “on the side” for NFL teams. Let retired police or private security handle these situations. If the NFL wants to reduce domestic violence, it should end the cozy relationship between teams and local law enforcement.
Team staff should never call law enforcement unless it’s to volunteer information that might help a criminal investigation. Other calls may be perceived - by police, prosecutors, the public and others – to be efforts at exerting undue influence.
Finally, shame on the NFL players and their spouses who shun or ignore women who report domestic violence. That kind of selfish and fearful culture is very reminiscent of what we see in many churches. It’s build on self-serving deceit. It fosters abuse and violence. And it must end.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 25 years and have more than 18,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.