Current NFL policies focus on punishment and discipline, not prevention nor education. If you think about it, a lot of abusers are mandated to take anger management or similar classes to avoid prosecution or "punishment." What we need to do is start somewhere else. Instead of punishment for a deed already done, we need to start bringing awareness to our professional athletes and educating them on prevention measures so that just maybe they will learn that their status as an athlete does not give them special privilege when it comes to "using" women.
Although professional athletes are not the only ones exhibiting this behavior, they are looked upon as heroes by many in our country, especially our children. When they put themselves in a position to be accused, such as Ben Roethlisberger and Lawrence Taylor, if there is no serious action taken, what type of message does this send to our households who each week sit and watch them play a game?
Lisa Michels and Lavina Masters are only one of handful who is fed up and are compelled standing up from the sidelines to take action. Who knows, maybe these two powerhouse advocates will be having lunch with commissioners and team owners soon to discuss some much needed changes in policy for players and team associates!
Please read her ideas, take the time to sign the petition, and move together to make changes!
Time after time we hear about an NFL player being accused of sexual assault or domestic violence.
*Lawrence Taylor rape arrest: Ex-Giant accused of raping, beating teen girl in NY hotel
*Ben Roethlisberger Accused of Sexual Assault AGAIN (second allegation in 365 days)
*Former NFL Player Michael Irvin, accused of rape (Cowboys)
*4 NFL Players Accused with Drugging, then Raping Woman - Dedric Ward, Charlie Batch, Ron Rice and Tyree Tolton
*O.J. Simpson Questioned on Domestic Abuse - (The Washington Post, January 26, 1996)
Need we say more? Enough is Enough. Now can we talk?
These players need to know that issues of violence affect everyone. Our children look up to and aspire to be like these players. Therefore, they should be expected to conduct themselves responsibly, promoting good and lawful values to be emulated.
Our goal is not to humiliate or hold a public trial. Our goal is to work with the NFL and the teams in order to educate them on the severity of their actions. Roger Goodell recently issued a memo in regards to the leagues personal conduct policy. It reads:
"The Policy makes clear that NFL and club personnel must do more than simply avoid criminal behavior. We must conduct ourselves in a way that 'is responsible, that promotes the values upon which the league is based, and is lawful.' This standard reflects the recognition that the conduct and behavior of our players and other league and team employees is critically important. Whether it involves your team or another, these incidents affect us all -- every investigation, arrest, or other allegation of improper conduct undermines the respect for our league by our fans, lessens the confidence of our business partners and threatens the continued success of our brand.
"As your club begins its offseason programs and approaches the Draft, I encourage you to be vigilant in reinforcing this message with your players and staff. It makes no difference whether an incident occurs during the season or in the off-season. At every opportunity, you should remind them of your standards and the public’s expectations, of the need to use good judgment, particularly when in a public place, and of the resources available to help us all in meeting these standards."
Obviously the commission understands the severity of the issues and that the number of recent complaints are alarming to us all. This shows that additional measures need to be instituted. It is not enough to merely state "this is wrong." They need to understand first hand how their actions affect victims and society. In order to accomplish this we believe that additional requirements need to be added to the league's current personal conduct policy.
1. Yearly required Sexual Assault Awareness Training for every player and employee.
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2. The training should include victims & survivors of sexual assault telling their stories of abuse, the affect it has on their lives and the lives of the people around them. (Examples of organizations: RAINN's Speakers Bureau, Elite Speakers Bureau.)
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3. The training should include Men from an organization similiar to "NOMAS" (National Organization for Men Against Sexism) or "Men Can Stop Rape." An organization that mobilizes men to use their strength for creating cultures free from violence against women.
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4. The policy should include financial penalties (preferably not less than 10% of their gross income) to be paid to the local rape crisis center.
Until policies that include education and financial penalties are instituted we see no end in sight. That's why your support for this petition is urgently needed. Tell the NFL Commission and the Team owners that you support educating and holding these players accountable by signing this petition today.
Created by Lavinia Masters and Lisa Michels, Sexual Assault Advocates United