Washington, DC – Expressing absolute agreement with National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell that he “got it wrong,” the Black Women’s Roundtable Public Policy Network (BWR) held a press conference today to urge the commissioner to take swift action to “get it right,” starting by appointing black women experts in domestic violence and sexual assault to the recently established Domestic Violence Advisory Board.
“The fact that not one of the women experts appointed to the advisory board was Black is totally unacceptable,” said Melanie L. Campbell, president and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and convener, BWR. “Nearly 70 percent of the NFL players are Black and most of the victims are Black women and children. Clearly, Black women understand the social construct and cultural sensitivities of the victims as well as the young players from our community and can advise the NFL accordingly.”
“Victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse are our daughters, granddaughters and sisters, we are here to support them,” adds Marcia Dyson, CEO and Founder, Women’s Global Initiative.”We don’t want anyone to believe that Black men are the poster boys for domestic violence. These young men are our sons and brothers. Many of them went through school as star athletes and came out without the proper boundaries.”
The women say the nature of the game of football promotes violence. They believe that since NFL makes millions off a violent sport, they should take more responsibility for some of the violence and commit to funding holistic, family-oriented counseling, training and prevention programs.
Noting that violence in the NFL is a reflection of the broader society, Campbell adds, “It’s not just Goodell who needs to get it right. The owners, coaches, and others in management must take the lead in the quest to eradicate violence in the NFL, other sports and, since so many young people look up to athletes, in the broader community. The NFL needs to step up given their role in society.”