Athletes and Domestic Violence

Athletes and Domestic Violence
I have been stewing about this for days. I am sure my husband is tired of me venting about it. It is another one of those subjects I don’t want to touch but the more I think about it, the more steamed I get.

We hear in the news the following things about athletes:

Michael Vick, Quarterback for Atlanta Falcons – Who hasn’t heard about this? He bred dogs to fight. They didn’t win, he drowned them. At first he denied it, now he admits it all and he has “found God”. There is coverage EVERY DAY about this. Yes, what he did is horrifying and inhuman.

Chris Henry and Odell Thurman, player for Cincinnati Bengals – They have been in news coverage for their drinking and driving, drugs, and Chris Henry was alleged to have given minors alcohol. Yes, what they did was bad and they had several warnings.

Barry Bonds, baseball player for San Francisco Giants and other various athletes – They are doing well, breaking records but we hear over other day it seems that they are doing steroids.

Kobe Bryant, basketball player – He cheated on his wife and got caught. He was accused of sexual assault and aquitted. Now they are getting a divorce.

Pete Rose, ex-baseball player and coach - He made coverage for betting on games. Recently everyone has been in a tizzy about him wanting to be the hall of fame.

Even referees are getting mass media coverage for placing bets on teams. But there is some media coverage that is missing or it is casually thrown in a 15 second mention between the stories above. Athletes who abuse their wives and/or girlfriends. Why isn’t this covered more in the media? Do we care more about the lives of dogs and men cheating in baseball with drug use then we do the life of a woman? What about the children of these athletes? What kind of example are they setting for their children when they are twice as big as the mothers yet knock them around and call them names?

Sure, we have heard of some athletes and their violent relationships. Remember OJ Simpson? He abused his wife for many, many years yet it took her being murdered for there to be media coverage. How about recently we saw WWE wrestling star Chris Benoit had a history of abuse with his wife Nancy. When did we hear most about it? Right, she was dead. Then again the focus was put on his steroid use, not the abuse. Another woman killed at the hands of her husband. Why do women have to die before we want to protect them?

According to Jeff Benedict and Don Yeager's book Pros and Cons: The Criminals Who Play in the NFL, "21 percent of the NFL's players have been charged with a serious crime. How serious? The docket begins with assault, rape, and domestic violence and keeps spiraling out of control." The Family Violence Prevention Fund keeps a list of pro athletes who have been charged with a domestic violence crime. What are some of the names and crimes committed? Here is a sample of the list:

- “Stone Cold” Steve Austin – WWE wrestler, assaulted his wife
- Riddick Bowe – pro boxer, arrested twice for assault against two separate women!
- Jim Brown - football player, threatened to kill his wife, vandalized her car
- Kobe Bryant - basketball player, sexual assault
- Sean Burke – hockey player, beat his wife
- Ramon Castro – baseball player, rape

The list goes on and on. Yes, I think what Mike Vick did to those dogs is horrible and he is going to get what he deserves. But what about all the women and children suffering at the hands of these athletes? Is the American media afraid of airing abuse allegations because even in the year 2007 we sweep this under the rug and still act like nothing is wrong? Why are we so ashamed to speak of domestic violence?

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