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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Athletes and Domestic Violence: Why I started with the NFL first


Many of you might remember me writing a post about why I started the NFL Domestic Violence petition. Well, this time I am going to talk about athletes and domestic violence and eventually will elaborate again on why I chose to start with the NFL. Notice that I said start with, so that means I am open to petition other sports organizations but I chose to start with the NFL.

Now, the NFL is the number ONE sport in the United States and ranks number 10 in the world. Now that is huge. There are so many people who enjoy and love the sport of football. Now, yes every sport has players that have been involved in domestic violence incidents. In recent news, we have heard about soccer player Hope Solo and her husband Jerramy Stevens (Former NFL Player), we have heard about Dez Bryant and Chad Johnson( Formally known as Ocho Cinco) but I cannot help but to point out the fact that majority of the time when you hear about domestic violence as it pertains to athletes, it comes more from NFL players.

So, I began to wonder, does that mean that the more violent the sport, the more violent the player? I would hate to think that but that is what it seems like. For instance, we have even seen a lot of Boxers in the news for domestic violence such as Evander Holyfield, Mike Tyson, Floyd "Money" Mayweather. Boxing and Football are obviously more violent than let's say soccer, basketball, baseball, or golf. I would even say that at times Boxing and Football are a little more violent than Hockey.

What bothers me the most about all of this is that the management of these sports organizations and/or the coaches of the players. For instance, when Floyd Mayweather went to jail for domestic violence, here is what the owner of the World Boxing Association(WBA) had to say and I quote "Beating a lady is highly critical, [but] it is not a major sin or crime". Of course, he then recanted his statement and apologized but still to read that was hurtful. I don't know how long people will continue to overlook domestic violence.

I chose to start with the NFL because as I mentioned it is the number one sport in the US and Just overall popular throughout the world. The NFL opens a door that domestic violence awareness hasn't had yet. This is not a competiton of what cause to support this is just simply stating that all causes should be supported especially if majority of an organizations players are adding on the problem(The NFL). I see this as a major problem and The NFL continues to look past it.

A Couple of days ago, we had an NFL player (Jovan Belcher) kill his girlfriend (Kasandra Perkins) and then killed himself leaving their 3 month old daughter to not have any parents. This is very serious. The NFL chose to do a moment of silent for domestic violence victims which is great but what is more troubling is that they fail to mentioned Jovan or His girlfriends name. So here again the NFL is covering up domestic violence and this sends the message that it is over to cover up it. It sends a message that says we will acknowledge it a little bit but we not acknowledge that it is not only a MAJOR problem but A serious one.

We should not be oblivious to fact that this is just not the first time an incident has happened involving an NFL player. Who remembers former NFL player Chris Henry? He was involved in a domestic violence dispute and he died. So what do we do? For all the people who are saying that I/We are attacking the NFL or drawing to much attention to the NFL, that is not so. We are drawing attention to DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS and we are asking the NFL to acknowledge that domestic violence is an issue within their organization and we are asking for their help in raising awareness.

Now of course wearing purple won't solve EVERYTHING but it will help, it will solve SOMETHING. One thing that it will do is get domestic violence awareness to  a NATIONAL level something that has NOT happened yet. Does the NFL need more programs that educate on the issue of domestic violence? Of course they do, we all do.

I am a life coach and when I coach my goal is to help others reach their goal, I am to help them move forward by helping them acknowledge and work on the things that are holding them back, its different from counseling in some ways. So although, I am not a football coach, I still think that as a coach you have to pay attention to your players. Coaches have to communicate with their players, it is important that players be healthy in every way not just physically. It was said that the Chiefs coach gave counseling to the couple but sometimes even that is not enough. Sometimes we have to reach out to others it takes a big village something thats why awareness is needed. Its important to share out testimonies if we have them, to let people know that they are not alone in what they are going through. Now, After the death of Jovan and Kasandra, the Kansas City Chiefs continued on with their game, the coach said well it helps us take our minds off of the tragedy that happened, while that could be true, we should closely examine that.

Many people feel like what that the Chiefs did was wrong and that it showed a lack of respect for the lost that the two families had just experienced. I won't really speak on right or wrong as it pertains to that but I will say this. What the coach said explains a lot of the problem in the first place. Do we just continue on with our lives without FACING our problems. How many of us go through our every day life doing something to cover up our problems until they eventually weigh us down and we go into depression and a whole host of other things? I have been guilty of that. It makes me wonder how many players in ALL the pro-sports organizations or just in sports organizations period are going through serious issues but instead use the sport as a way to get through it. Though that may help temporarily, it is not going to help in the long-term and it is constantly being proven.

The reason I named my organization F.A.C.E. I.T. was because I wanted to help people face their issues and not only that I wanted to raise awareness so that people in communities would not be afraid to stand up for issues in their communities even if it were not them that were facing the particular issues. We have to stand together in order to make things happen. We are so divided. We argue over who domestic violence happens to more which is one of my pet peeves because the fact is that IT HAPPENS AND IT CAN AND DOES HAPPEN TO ANYONE. Thats the issue, it happens and it shouldn't but we will stay divided as long as we keep nitpicking at somethings instead of acknowledging that it happens to everyone and move forward on how we can work together to stop it.

Now people are saying, we don't know that facts so how do we know that this was a case of domestic violence. Well, for starters, he killed his girlfriend, that is domestic violence right there! He did not kill himself right after he killed her. He drove to wear they practice and then he killed himself. He killed himself, that shows that he obviously had some issues that he was dealing with and that he couldn't take the fact that he just killed his girlfriend. He was not about to face the problem, for people to question whether this was this domestic violence is interesting. That's almost to say that it is okay and normal for us to just kill our significant others or spouses and it is NOT.

People say well we don't know him and he was said to be a good father, I would never say that he wasn't a good father, he probably was but guess what? Now his daughter does not even have a father or a mother? Was he selfish to kill himself? Yes, he was but guess what? He had issues he was dealing with and did not address them. Sometimes we think that we don't need help, we feel like a coward for asking for help. This man needed help and his girlfriend may she Rest in Peace, probably needed it too because I am sure this wasn't the first time they had a fight only this time, it resulted in the lost of two lives.

Let us be clear about the issue of domestic violence and stand on it. We can no longer sugarcoat or ignore domestic violence, we have to take a stand. My/Our petition to the NFL is bigger than seeing purple on players, its about bring awareness to domestic violence, its about acknowledging that domestic violence exists. This petition has brought people together, this petition has give the domestic violence awareness community hope. It has brought about peace, people have shared there stories on the petition, in a way it is an outlet for them, they feel like their voice is being heard and IT IS! Please hear and listen to our voice and support the petition.

God Bless you all,

Nicole C. Lofton

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