NY--NFL teams help to hide domestic abuse

For immediate release: Monday, Nov. 17

Statement by David Clohessy of St. Louis, Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 566 9790, [email protected], [email protected])

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)

Contact - David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-503-0003 cell, [email protected]), Mary Caplan of New York City (917 439 4187, [email protected])


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