In the wake of the Kansas City tragedy, I can’t help but wonder why the NFL doesn’t have a Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Nationally, Breast Cancer Awareness is recognized every year in the month of October. The NFL embellishes their players and staff in the color pink to support Breast Cancer Awareness. Millions of fans across the world purchase pink gear to support Breast Cancer Awareness as well. The NFL players wear pink gloves, pink cleats, pink captain patches and the coaches on the sidelines can be seen wearing pink shirts and pink hats. Look around an NFL stadium and you will see fans waving pink towels and sporting pink posters showing their support for breast cancer awareness. But have you ever noticed anyone at an NFL game wearing or showing his or her support for domestic violence awareness? Did you know that Domestic Violence Awareness Month is also in the month of October?
Nationally, one in four women have experienced domestic violence. Between 600,000 and 6 million women are victims of domestic violence each year. Women are not the only victims of domestic violence; between 100,000 and 6 million men are victims of domestic violence each year. Domestic violence crosses all gender lines, income lines, and race lines; domestic violence affects everyone.
On Saturday morning, on December 1, 2012, Jovan Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend and then drove five miles to Arrowhead Stadium and shot and killed himself. Amongst NFL players, Jerramy Stevens, Larry Johnson, and Chad “Ocho Cinco” Johnson have all been arrested on domestic violence charges. Former NFL tight end with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Seattle Seahawks, Jerramy Stevens was arrested and accused of striking Hope Solo, a U.S. women’s soccer star on November 13, 2012. On October 5, 2012, former NFL running back Larry Johnson was arrested on a felony domestic violence strangulation charge against his reported ex girlfriend. Chad Johnson, Miami Dolphins wide receiver, was arrested on August 11, 2012 on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence against his wife, Evelyn Lozada.
I have named just a few NFL players that in the last year have been arrested on charges of domestic violence. We have heard the news about several NFL players facing domestic violence charges but domestic violence is not just a problem in the NFL; it is a widespread epidemic that affects millions of people across the world. But, since millions of people watch the NFL, I think the NFL would be a great platform for Domestic Violence Awareness. The players, staff, and fans could all support Domestic Violence Awareness by sporting the color purple at the games. Perhaps the NFL could promote both Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness in October with the colors of pink and purple or perhaps the NFL could designate different months for both of these important causes.
I can’t say that Breast Cancer Awareness is of any less importance than Domestic Violence Awareness. But, what I can say is that domestic violence is a cycle of abuse that involves human interactions at its core. Just as scientists are working together to find a cure to cancer, we can work together to stop the cycle of abuse.