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Domestic Violence And The NFL Murder-Suicide

A murder-suicide in the NFL – Kansas City Chiefs – puts a high-profile spotlight on domestic violence.  What do we see there?

Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, shown here with their daughter, Zoey. (Instagram)

Jovan Belcher killed his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, shown here with their daughter, Zoey. (Instagram)

Last Saturday morning Kansas City Chiefs NFL linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his 22-year old girlfriend, the mother of his child, then drove to a Chiefs’ parking lot, apologized to team management, got down on his knees, and shot himself.  Murder-suicide.  And the next day, the game went on.  Chiefs versus Carolina Panthers.

A moment of silence, then back to business.  But those gunshots are still echoing.  Into gun control debates and concussion worries and, above all, into domestic violence fears.

This hour, On Point:  a murder suicide in the NFL, and the echoes beyond.

-Tom Ashbrook


Kevin Blackistone, sports journalist and professor, as well as a frequent panelist for ESPN’s Around the Horn.

Jeff Benedict, contributor for Sports Illustrated and a writer for SI.com. He’s the author of Public Heroes, Private Felons: Athletes and Crimes Against Women and Out of Bounds: Inside the NBA’s Culture of Rape, Violence, and Crime.

Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

From Tom’s Reading List

ESPN “By hanging Belcher’s jersey, the Chiefs created a memorial for a man who murdered the 22-year-old mother of his infant daughter on Saturday morning, then drove to the team’s practice facility and fired a single shot into his head in front of coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli.”

Washington Times “Today, critics say the NFL has a serious domestic violence problem. As a family law attorney who sees the results of domestic violence on a regular basis, I’m here to tell you domestic violence is not just an NFL problem. It is a problem in every single facet of our society”

Fox Sports “A 25-year-old kid gunned down his 22-year-old girlfriend in front of his mother and three-month-old child, and all he could think to do in the immediate aftermath is rush to thank his football coach and football employer. Belcher’s last moments on this earth weren’t spent thanking the mother who raised him or apologizing to the child he would orphan. His final words of gratitude and perhaps remorse were reserved for his football gods”

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  • ttajtt

    head hits, is the injury or the whys of life we live to it pass on.
    every thing changes, is it tilted me or it, real or not.  then think it over of what it is again.   am i right is it correct, or am i just in a freaking out moment.    can’t sleep unless dog tired drunk or like,  straight sleep is like the coma past time then to wake up you say i can’t put up with you get lost, cut his fingers toes tongue off. eyes and ears too, i don’t want one around ME.  

    head injury, NDE starting five years ago, i had what is told an 25yr. anniversary, went though wreck without the wreck. what i thought was a picture, moves now (the seen), no head pill spasms or like yet. got water resource and water quality degrees when told “our test show you can’t do it”. injurys catch up. other stuff is, like to help you but your the healthiest vet i’ll see all day if not all week. you have passed up operations thought you would need. unless it needs cutting off replacing or altering and we really don’t want to miss up your system. yes anger management, AA, courts, plus now i’m 86 from here too now.
    12-82 comma 10 day wheel chair 3 months
    84 lt wrist and shoulder, gull blader
    91 back lock bent over traction
    97 rt knee been bone to bone left is now to.
    08 2 bad neck, 2 bad L3 4, 7 bulging disk
    the injury, you know there is more, its always physical now to clumsy clucksy and accidental prone. this does take time it to turns me off.
    i remembered the older ones like my uncles who suffered earl Vietnam when 10
    i learned from their way only it was without them.
    no kids friends siblings that care. i fell though the cracks all my life. then bam every day what hit me.

    and yes thank you for asking. my invention KNOTian.com coming soon

    good books my stroke of insight, just like the hash browns.
    consciousness beyond life. being grab from the back of the scuff of the neck.
    DMT molecule spirit. have but not read yet.

    my comment freedom is almost over with. good day and don’t get the mark.

    • J__o__h__n

      Any link between head injuries and writing skills?

  • Shag_Wevera

    The NFL angle is a false one.  Domestic violence permeates human culture, and we aren’t even close to a solution.  I spent time in law enforcement and saw all the ins and outs of domestic violence, including its underpinnings in drugs and alchohol.  Mental illness and a violent culture are also important elements in spousal abuse.

    Anyone have a solution to all of these problems?

    • 1Brett1

      I agree; and, I also would ask the final question you do because I don’t have any answers, either. 

      I don’t know in which direction today’s show will go. It could go toward domestic violence; violence in our culture; mental wellness/illness (including drugs and alcohol abuse); gun control; but, it could also go toward the very germane topical direction of head injuries in football. Perhaps the discussion will include all of these?

      In this respect, I don’t know if the NFL angle is necessarily a false one, albeit it might be in this horrible and sad instance. 

    • Gregg Smith

      I don’t know if there is a solution. I can’t imagine any law that would have prevented it. 

      • 1Brett1

        I am inclined to agree. Laws can only go so far in terms of deterrence/punishing behavior to prevent certain unwanted behavior. If there is any “solution,” perhaps it might lie in a more proactive way of thinking…but, as I said, I don’t have any solutions that I can point to with absolute certainty and say, “these work.”  

    • anamaria23

      Addiction is a complicated disease, however with all the lives that have been destroyed, bodies ravaged, spirits broken in it’s wake, there needs to be a huge investment in finding treatment.  I don’t know of any really great initiative in this field, though reports are that some  Harvard researchers  may
      be working in that directon.
      How many of society’s  great ills can be traced traced to substance abuse.  

  • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

    Tom, I think you invited the wrong guests to look at the wrong issue, or maybe I see a different issue.  
    The issue I want addressed, is how brain injury is a communicable disease.  Our inability to see this, shows how little we know about the brain. What is almost never explained, is how brain injury extends to families and to the rest of society.  
    I believe identity is formed by emotional reflections from others.  When an emotional reflection is distorted, our brains are physically (chemically) altered. Sometimes a physical or emotional trauma causes our emotional identity to conflict with the emotional reflection we experience.  I define this as disease.  Why is it that we define moral character as independent of the physical body?  One does not exist without the other.  This doesn’t excuse behavior, it simply makes the connection that our physical identity is related to our emotional identity.  The most human response we can achieve is to give clear emotional reflections, to do this, we have to be honest with others, as well as honest with ourselves.  It takes a true friend to say “I think you may be going crazy.”  Or to be more tactfully, you may have a brain injury.  I recently heard an interesting interview with the Author of Brain on Fire.  Susannah Cahalan tells how a brain disease nearly cost her, her life and her relationships.  We can only fight brain injury and brain disease when we learn to recognize and acknowledge that it exists.  We must quit judging moral character as independent from the physical environment, and we must modify physical environments to protect the brain from severe emotional or physical  trauma. Is this today’s topic, because it can’t be digested in one hour, and won’t likely be addressed at all by the very people who profit by allowing injury in the first place.  Do we really want to stop the damage caused by brain trauma?  This goes way beyond the football field.  Think about it.

  • sam

    This is just a another public case, shedding light on a HUGE issue that nothing will come out of.

    Just like that time Mel Gibson incident happened with his ex girlfriend and the phone. That was domestic violence case/episode.

    And what happened with it? Nothing.

    It is in each and individual person’s hands – to handle their life.

    There are people and places – non for profit and govt supported
    organizations that help victim’s of domestic violence and teach women
    and men how to get out of these situations, to recognize the signs, what
    to do if you found yourself in that kind of situation. They are the
    real heroes. Extremely underpaid, tired from incredible workload,

    Republicans would cut funding to those programs, as well as much needed mental health programs.

  • sam

    The sad part, is that there were a TON of warning signs before this incident happened. It never happens just out of the blue.

    We all like to ignore the red flags and think that “nooo… he would never do that!”

    And then it happens.

    But it is always ALWAYS preceded  by signs, that people either refuse to see or acknowledge.

    I think part of the solution to this problem is educating our young men and women what domestic violence is and what it’s signs are and what to do if you see these signs happening to your loved ones.

    Teaching our young men and especially women what self respect and self love is, so that they would never enter into these kinds of relationships and will get out, before it is too late.

  • ToyYoda

    How much of the violent incidence that occur in the NFL related to taking sports enhancement drugs, and/or concussions?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QMDZ3LH5U2B4GAT7J2HS4TCP6E Jim

    NFL should revisit the concussion problem again,… his brain albeit blown to pieces should be examined closely.

    this is not just a domestic problem.

  • Gregg Smith

    The dude was a troubled scumbag, that’s all.

  • J__o__h__n

    Employers shouldn’t be enforcing the law, the police and courts should. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/taralynn.scheidet Tara Lynn Scheidet

    It’s a high profile example of reality. And hopefully something educational and proactive comes out of it. Domestic violence is rooted in societies across the world. Education and prevention are seriously in need! 

  • peterlake

    What was the causal event of the argument between Belcher and his girlfriend? 
    Was it him seeing another woman?
    And what of the consequences of unmarried parenthood?

    Sounds like this was an unstable relationship between an unstable man and an unwed mother — already a recipe for an unwanted result, even before the violence.

  • http://www.facebook.com/taralynn.scheidet Tara Lynn Scheidet

    Domestic violence is a learned behavior and starts at home and or in our culture. You can go to a strip club and not be a controlling abusive partner! 

  • beeste

    Nevermind the moral clauses, the NFL can put in safety clauses that allow contract voiding if the player owns a gun. Ben Rothlisberger could have lost his contract after he was in a motorcycle accident, this can easily be done. 

    Certainly domestic violence is a broader problem and that needs to be addressed, but the culture of GUN VIOLENCE is a targeted problem the NFL can address and the NFL could be a societal leader in changing our society’s gun violence.  Motorcycles aren’t illegal either, nor are lots of other risky behaviors that are forbidden in NFL contracts.

  • CayLacey

    The house won’t even pass the Violence Against Women Act and we are surprised that testosterone-laden guys not to assume that they can abuse their partners? The same folks are howling about the suggestion that guns (especially hand guns) actually kill people. Have you ever heard of a drive-by knifing?

  • girlsarepretty

    Where is Rita Smith in this conversation… ?

  • volpephoto

     I would love to see the studies that prove that the NFL players exhibit the same level of domestic violence as the general public.  I believe there are several studies showing that this problem actually begins in High School.  The NFL is  a legal monopoly, this allows the participants to earn outsized salaries and therefore they have a higher level of responsibility resulting from their outsized influence on our young from steroids to violence.  If you want the money you have to earn it.

  • Davesix6

    The idea that a concussion may have contributed to Belcher’s state of mind while not completely absurd is none the less a stretch.
    People are murdered every day in this nation in cases of domestic violence, are they the results of the offending party’s history of concussions? Of course not.
    Please keep in mind OJ Simpson used a knife!

    • J__o__h__n

      No he didn’t.  The gloves didn’t fit. 

      • Davesix6


  • GKoenig

    What of the role of required counseling by the NFL.  Not just for ‘suspected problem cases’ but for everyone.  The money has got to be there!  The caller just mentioned SSS (Sudden Stardom Syndrome).  Look at any so-called ‘stress index’ where points are assigned for major life events.  Note that so-called “good” life events score almost as highly “bad” ones.  Marriage is high on the list, just as death of a close family member.
    So, suddenly having a lot of money, fame, and attraction of numerous fans, including women, is a huge stress on the individual player, typically in their 20s.
    If we try to “legislate” away some of the factors (i.e. you lose your contract if you engage in domestic violence, or own a gun, etc.), the stress will just come out in some other way (such as driving a car into a bridge abutment, perhaps with the family along for the ride).
    So, please.  Stop the ‘strong male can handle himself’ myth by requiring periodic visits to someone to talk with in private about (gosh!) feelings!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    What is it about American culture that so many people committing violent suicide can’t just do it alone, but need “company” going into the afterlife?

  • Allison Berry

    We’re talking about intimate partner violence not random acts of violence. Using violence is a CHOICE.

  • http://www.facebook.com/taralynn.scheidet Tara Lynn Scheidet

    Domestic Violence does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, veteran status, disability, age, citizenship, economic status etc… 

    • Davesix6

      You can add gender to that list Tara, plenty of domestic violence is commited by women against men and other women.

    • Davesix6

      You can add gender to that list Tara, plenty of domestic violence is commited by women against men and other women.

      • http://www.facebook.com/taralynn.scheidet Tara Lynn Scheidet

        I did list sex, by sex i meant gender. And I agree. I worked on call as a domestic violence advocate for 5+ years and had 2 men call me. Well more than 2 men called but only two of the men that called were victims not batterers. And I have several male friends that were victims of sexual violence, at least disclosed, one of which was DV related. But the statistics still show way higher counts of women and our culture reflects and supports a by-stander society that does not speak out against DV or understand it. History is what creates this imbalance. The middle east is a perfect example because this is a culture that is extremely male dominated/controlled. in the US we have evolved but not enough. 

        • http://profile.yahoo.com/JXSANCUDPIKQSPID5KT2U4XK5Y TF

          I dunno if you’re giving him a bit more credit than deserved.

          “Plenty” sounds like his attempt to obfuscate the actual distribution of who perpetrates on who. Every case is individual, but some things are just more representative than others.

          That female-on-male domestic violence happens is not in question. But I see Davesix as trying hard to fudge whether it’s 1/1000th, 1/100th, 1/10th, or 1/2 as often as male-on-female. That seems to be his goal, not a meaningful discussion.

  • DN

    NFL players may or may not have greater access to women. They may or may not be more naturally violent men. But there is one thing that is clearly different about them. They are highly revered by children. The NFL should keep this in mind. They are in a position of power, and could use this power to transform our country.

  • DN

    NFL players may or may not have greater access to women. They may or may not be more naturally violent men. But there is one thing that is clearly different about them. They are highly revered by children. The NFL should keep this in mind. They are in a position of power, and could use this power to transform our country.

  • riley911

    There is also the issue of emotional education for young boys.
    If you ask a woman how do you feel she will talk for 20 mins, having the emotional vocabulary and cultural expectation of expressing herself.  For men it is the complete opposite, men are not taught the language of emotions.

    • gettotherootoftheproblem

      To further this, this is a large goal of batterer intervention when working with heterosexual males who use intimate partner violence: getting men to understand their intolerable feelings and negative belief systems about women, and how they are the backbone of intimate partner violence.  Men are socialized to be “tough” and “masculine”, and the only emotion that is acceptable to identify with for them seems to be anger, which is not a primary emotion.  So, boys and later men, learn to bottle their primary, intolerable feelings and only communicate in anger in their relationships (now add an upbringing in domestic violence and negative belief systems about women and the roles of men and women in relationships, as with many of these men who perpetrate violence).  This is how they learn to get their immediate needs met, making themselves feel better in that moment (and later worse, hence the cycle), whenever they can’t express and handle their intolerable feelings, leaving them feeling some sort of loss of control and needing to gain control of the situation.  It becomes so routine, most abusers don’t even recognize how abusive they have even become, often believing their own justifications and rationalizations, alleviating the burden of guilt. Does it start with such a tragic event, such as one murdering their partner? No, and I would say if we looked further into this relationship, we would be able to see a history of abusive behaviors he demonstrated that flew under the radar, almost supported by the “tough”, “masculine” career he participated in, without any notice. Not to blame the NFL or sports, but it is another way in which most boys are socialized to not show emotion, to be tough, and showing pain is considered defeat. 

      • shargarepa

         ^^Excellent comment.

  • http://wh.gov/IVp4 Yar

    What would two years of public service have done for Jovan Belcher?  I started a petition to require it for all youth.
    They should learn firearms training as part of this service.  In a society of gun ownership, we need better weapons training.
    Six days and six signatures, 24,994 to go.  Not very promising so far.


    Only you can change this.

  • http://twitter.com/RealEstateCafe Bill Wendel

    Glad to hear Rita Smith’s comments, can you ask her if her organization has an ongoing relationship with any peer-to-peer support groups for wives of professional athletes, like ProSportsWives 


    is there time to get someone from that organization, or any other self-help group organized by player’s wives, to call in?

  • http://www.facebook.com/taralynn.scheidet Tara Lynn Scheidet

    Go Rita Smith. I can calm down now. Great ideas!

  • http://www.facebook.com/taralynn.scheidet Tara Lynn Scheidet

    Go Rita Smith. I can calm down now. Great ideas!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    I have an issue labelling this “domestic violence”. Neither is acceptable, but there is big difference between slapping someone and intentionally killing someone. This is murder. Period.

    • http://www.facebook.com/taralynn.scheidet Tara Lynn Scheidet

      domestic violence is violence that happens in the home and a slap, controlling when someone comes and goes, manipulation, intimidation, rape and murder are all forms of domestic violence if it is going on in the home between family members or people in an intimate relationship. 

    • shargarepa

      This case can be referred to as domestic homicide, and yes, that is in fact domestic violence.

      What, exactly, was the point of your post? Because all I see is someone asking to have the issue of DV swept back under the rug.

  • GQ Lewis

    Steve McNair (former QB for the Tennessee Titians) was killed by his girlfriend who then turned the gun on herself. So it isn’t just men who are violent aggressors. 

  • GQ Lewis

    Steve McNair (former QB for the Tennessee Titians) was killed by his girlfriend who then turned the gun on herself. So it isn’t just men who are violent aggressors. 

    • sam

      Thanks for leveling the field.

      Care to quote the statistics of how many MEN are DV perpetrators and how many WOMEN are?

    • Yobo2

      The difference would be in the background details. Was she responding to previous violence? I don’t know anything about what was in the heads of any of these people. But more often than not, when women kill men, it is after years of abuse. They just want the abuse to stop, even if it means they lose their own life or are locked up in jail.

      More often than not, when men kill women, the dynamics are about dominance and control. It’s very hard for me to understand the abusive male’s thinking in this regard, but it’s all about POWER, “putting women in their place,” and going to extremes to maintain dominance, even if it means they lose their own life or are locked up in jail. For some guys, it’s just that important, or maybe they’re just that out-of-control.

  • James Newman

    If someone wants another person dead, there gonna die. knifes are used to kill. Will that be next on the band list? guns dont kill, people do.Its a human element only god can control. People die this is sad, but its life and life is creul. Those who commit the cardinal sin, Murder, gods greatest gift, life. Will answer to him, believe it or not.

    • 1Brett1

      While I see your point–and agree with it–about the fact that virtually anything can be used as weapon, I must respectfully disagree that “[G]od can control” this human behavior of murder. When one pulls out a weapon and kills another, there is no God or Satan in control of that! Conveying a sentiment that is akin to “God will take care of everything,” is not much of a thoughtful contribution, with all due respect. 

  • James Newman

    For real

  • http://www.facebook.com/taralynn.scheidet Tara Lynn Scheidet

    xoxoxoxox out to Sue. 

  • Davesix6

    I looked at the web site for the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

    Didn’t notice any mention of violence against men commited by women, yet it’s exsistence is well documented.

    I agree domestic violence is about control, however domestic violence is commited by both men and women.

  • Matthew Goudey

    There’s a lot of talk about NFL, money, or fame causing someone to be violent. Violence is not a learned behavior, it is either part of who you are or it isn’t. Violent people can learn to control their violent tendencies, but non-violent people do not learn to be violent. Correlation vs. causation suggests the opposite of what is being discussed. Maybe people with violent tendencies are attracted to violent activities, like professional football. That’s not to say that all players are violent people, but it’s likely that a person who plays a violent sport might have violent tendencies inherent in their personality.

    • 1Brett1

      While there are certain personalities who do have more of a predisposition to violence, for whatever reason, violence itself is a behavior and behavior is learned. So, I respectfully disagree.

      Generally, one has to see violence, or hear about violence, before one acts out violence. However, I do agree with your overall sentiment that it is quite an unfortunate stretch to make some causal link between football and violent behavior in one’s personal life, head injuries notwithstanding. I also agree that a “naturally” non-violent personality would need to be in an extreme situation to commit an act of violence.  

      • Matthew Goudey

        “Generally, one has to see violence, or hear about violence, before one acts out violence.” That is a completely false statement. Violent behavior is not learned. A person may learn to do it more effectively, but that’s a different issue. Infants and toddlers who have never been hit, or seen someone hit another person or animal, may still strike someone when they are angry or afraid. It’s an instinctual response to a neurochemical presence. A child who never learned violence will not stand by and allow a dog to attack them. Instinct will cause that child to swing their arms in self-defense. The same action, which in that case is caused by the emotion FEAR, will manifest itself under the influence of anger, frustration, and sometimes confusion, as well as other situations. Violent behavior is considered provoked by the one acting violently, and that notion of provocation causes certain chemicals to be produced by the brain. It’s not the violence that is inherent as much as it is a predisposition towards aggression, possibly caused by a brain preference to produce certain chemicals or to not produce others, and by a lack of emotional control that regulates the physical response in the presence of those chemicals. It is true that traumatic brain injury can create this environment in people who prior to the injury had no problem with aggression or violence.

        • 1Brett1

          I don’t think we’re too far from each other in much of our thinking; however, the example of an infant is not accurate. While an infant never subjected to violence will flail about aggressively to anger or fear (although fear is a much harder one to observe in small infants that manifests itself in any other way other than to flee), for him/her to actually aggress upon another, to purposely lash out at another person or animal by hitting, pushing, biting, etc., those behaviors are learned…We just don’t agree on that one.

          I have been stimulated by your comments, and I do find many valuable points in them.

  • sam

    The lady that called and shared her story about her dv situation – THANK YOU! Thank you for being brave and sharing your story.

    I completely agree with everything she said and I think DV is a much bigger issue that needs to be discussed on its own, not just as part of the “NFL/gun control” issue or this particular latest public incident.

  • http://www.facebook.com/larryfiehn Larry Fiehn

    Had it not involved some high-profile jock, it would never have made NPR. Too bad it happened, but hardly any more important than any other case.

  • http://www.facebook.com/taralynn.scheidet Tara Lynn Scheidet

    And thank you Tom for bringing this discussion out on the air!

  • sam

     That was sarcasm

  • 1Brett1

    We don’t know what the underlying causes were that facilitated this tragic event. Perhaps we’ll never know; however, it may behoove us to attempt trying to find out. 

    All possible causes have been mentioned; each is a discussion in and of itself. 

    I was going to start this comment of with a really tasteless joke. While having some reluctance, I consider that no one here is personally affected by this tragedy; and, aside from the idea that making bad jokes having a point should probably be a practice from which we should refrain with regard to someone’s personal situation, anything else is not sacred, so….

    “Maybe Jovan Belcher was just ‘standing his ground’? –Too soon?”

    I know full well who here, as regular commenters, are for gun rights and who among us here question those rights on some level. I also approach this subject with some, of what I feel is, healthy ambivalence. 

    While I don’t know what the laws are in the state where Jovan lived, we have all gotten somewhat familiar with “stand your ground” laws with respect to gun laws/ownership, and we have all been exposed to some aspect of gun laws in other respects.

    Recently, another tragedy involving “stand your ground” happened in Florida, and the result was another teenager getting shot to death. This happened at a convenience store parking lot over a teen playing loud music in a car. The shooter asked the young man to turn down the music, the teen refused, and the man with the gun shot and killed the teen. The shooter fled the scene and went on the run. When he was found, he claimed that he thought he saw a shotgun in the teen’s car, yet no gun was found in the teen’s car.

    My larger point is that, while I respect a person’s right to defend himself/herself, and I respect the traditions of hunting and collecting guns (and I respect the privilege of owning    guns – I use the word, “privilege,” in this way because, under certain circumstances, that privilege can be understandably revoked), I also see the need for gun laws to encompass all that there is in protecting the rights of the responsible individual, as well as to protect the community at large from those who do not take the responsibility of gun ownership seriously.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XOXKE3SOOSOO4USMQCJHD5JBDA Mo

    Any man who has ever tried to get out of a relationship with an abusive woman by involving the police, courts, counseling – will tell you that the entire focus of domestic abuse is for women and against men. Men are laughed out of court when they request restraining orders.

    Women will routinely use restraining orders to punish men they feel have wronged them in relationships, but not committed abuse. Lawyers will use them in divorce cases to get more favorable rewards.

    The end result of the “extra help” for immigrant women are that they can file a temporary restraining order against any man (or woman) and immediately get a green card.

    Ultimately, things like this endanger women when they are in real trouble with domestic violence, because – as stated on this program today, often other men just do not take DV claims by women seriously, because they have been so exploited and disproportionately applied.

    • lioninwinter

      Hey Mo, Newsflash! The vast, vast majority of domestic violence incident are male against female. Your argument smacks of both patriarchy, racism, and  naiveté. This was a male on female case. Period.

      • Bluejay2fly

        The point being made here is that domestic violence advocates, the laws, and the people who enforce them are often ineffective at addressing the problem or persecute innocent people. A social worker came to my wife and told her in her 20 yrs of experience she could tell I was abusing her.  My wife had cancer and was going through chemo, that was her evidence. My wife is a civil attorney and has had domestic violence advocates   go to court and interject themselves in the proceedings, its unbelievable. These DVA’s cannot protect the women from a violent nut job but they will badger women who do not want their help. Sometimes the woman will want no charges placed against the man (usually a prison guard) because if he gets fired she looses child support and health insurance. In essence she is now forced to go on welfare and become a dependent of the state. The man in this case may not be an abuser just someone who got into a really heated argument and a 3rd party called the police. All uses of force are domestic violence and all women are treated as a victim whose judgement is considered impaired and is wholly disregarded. The worst scenario is how they blindly advocate for them when its obvious they are just using their aid to place the other side on the defensive. It thus becomes a fast tract to gaining custody for women who are involved with men who are in any law enforcement because suddenly their job is at stake. In rural NY it is a problems as we have thousands of prison guards who live in fear of getting tagged with a DV offense. Its obvious these laws do not protect women as they should nor do they protect the rights of men who are considered guilty and then must prove their innocence often after loosing custody, visitation, and all too often their job.

    • shargarepa

       Oh, look, the MRA’s also troll NPR. Sigh.

  • Bluejay2fly

    Domestic violence laws can go too far. Look at the Lautenberg Law which states that any law enforcement member convicted of a misdemeanor offense looses their job. I work in law enforcement and have seen people placed on unpaid leave as soon as the allegation is made. Imagine being without an income for months on end only to be vindicated but still having gone through that hardship. I knew one officer who was accused of shoving his girlfriend. No bruises, no physical sign of force used, just her word against his. He was locked out without pay for 6 months. She made this false allegation because she knew it would punish him by placing his job at risk. I was hit by my ex wife and was almost arrested. Thankfully, some neighbors intervened with the officer or else I would have been locked out as well. Ironically, they would not arrest her for beating me with her fists even though witnesses told them that is what happened. Calling a shove during an argument or an accusation of a shove domestic violence is really insulting to women who have been abused. Furthermore, it harms officers by jeopardizing their income based on a standard not applied to anybody else in society.

  • http://www.facebook.com/taralynn.scheidet Tara Lynn Scheidet

    I know of way too many women that have lost lives rather than jobs to sympathies here. Not that I am saying what you speak of never happens. But it is rare. Everyday it is a fight for victims of DV and SV to get people to help, support, believe and understand them. And a fight to put laws in place to prevent re offenders. Abusers, more often men, will routinely use restraining orders to take children away from their partners with no consideration for how this jeopardizes the health and welfare of their own child. And they use the children strategically to maintain control over their partner, man or woman. And abused women often drop restraining orders and never press charges because they don’t want to hurt their abuser and escalate the situation. 
    There is a difference between being shoved and feeling fear when one is shoved. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/taralynn.scheidet Tara Lynn Scheidet

    poor Zoey :-( 

  • TheDailyBuzzherd

    Props to Bob Costas.

  • lioninwinter

    I think this show is willfully and consciously ignoring the ways that pro football players are coddled and generally “forgiven” for their crimes through their high school and college careers. Then when they arrive in the NFL and enact something horrible, we all act surprised. It’s one of the reasons I don’t watch or support pro sports.

  • lioninwinter

    The NFL is ignoring these points as well!

  • http://twitter.com/allen2saint allen 2saint

    Sensitively and intelligently reported and handled, Tom. You never put yourself in front of the story. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Timothy-A-Dixon/1157625445 Timothy A Dixon

    It was surprising that the two sports reporters could wrest their lips from the NFL’s teat long enough to discuss this.  The NFL’s mother’s milk was heavily on their breath as they scoffed at the higher incidence of DV amongst NFLers than in the general population, adding punitive specifics to player contracts and the role of guns in DV and the prevalence amongst NFLers.  Tom was so passive as they pranced around disavowing and head-scratching about the NFL could do to prevent this violence. 

    Here’s a radical idea…a PSA for anyone planning a murder/suicide needs to be produced and aired.  We don’t need to prevent it, we need to encourage these miscreants to perform the operations in just the opposite order.  They should start with the suicide first and then commit the murder.  It won’t be a total solution, but it will solve half of the problem.

  • DJtheotherbob

    I was very disappointed with the program….way too much about football and way too little about the high level of violence directed towards women (only some of it domestic violence). Rita Smith was very generous in acknowledging that most professional athletes are not abusers…but you and your guests were not very generous in acknowledging Rita’s broader knowledge of the scale of violence in our culture.

    In my opinion, this is not about coddling athletes (though there’s plenty of that).

    It’s not about whether rich entitled business men are more or less abusive or violent toward women than rich entitled athletes.

    It’s not about whether or not head injuries increase the potential for violent behavior (though head injuries certainly are a serious problem for athletes at all levels of sport).

    More so, it’s that our culture empowers most men at the expense of most women, and that we teach that to boys and girls, knowingly and unknowingly, from an early age.

    A young woman of my acquaintance pointed out that there are sessions in college orientation about how to avoid being raped, but no parallel sessions for young men with the message DO NOT RAPE!

    When you discussed what the NFL could do, I think the boat was missed. All those viewers seeing commercials for Walmart and Coors could be getting messages about RESPECTING WOMEN, that HURTING those you supposedly love is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

    The NFL has a captive audience that includes young and old, men and women, rich and poor and in between, of all races and social groups. Use some of that valuable air time to be counted against violence of all types directed at women. This violence in our society continues in part because we don’t talk about it, acknowledge it, discourage it openly. Let the NFL speak out, loud and strong. END VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.


    • Yobo2

      You wrote about “sessions in college orientation about how to avoid being raped, but no parallel sessions for young men with the message DO NOT RAPE!”  — same thing in the military. Same thing in society!!!  

      We’re accustomed to thinking of violence against women as a “women’s issue.” But it’s not. It’s a men’s issue.

      I’ve tried to talk to women’s groups for years about moving the message from a defensive one (i.e how to protect ourselves against male aggression/abuse/sexism) to one where we go to the source of the problem and stop it before it happens. Misogyny is a men’s problem; abuse of women is a men’s problem. The effects of misogyny are (of course) something women are stuck dealing with, but the root of the problem is firmly with the perps. This is understood unequivocally in every other type of violence, so why is it different when it comes to male-on-female violence? If vandals are smashing windows on Main Street, does anyone say, “Oh well, it’s just natural, that’s what vandals do!” Or “The shops left themselves open to being vandalized, didn’t they? They should have done more to protect themselves.” Or “All that nice stuff displayed so flagrantly in those shop windows, they practally *threw* themselves at the vandals – they were clearly asking to be vandalized. In fact, shops with big display windows and elaborate window displays secretly  ~~want~~ to be vandalized.”

      This conversation is an important one. The blind spots are many. And there are many attitudes in “male culture” that allow the problem to perpetuate. For example, many men think that women are just complainers, or that we’re “asking for equality and at the same time we’re expecting special treatment.” This is a misunderstanding that even well-meaning “enlightened” males have expressed and it needs to be addressed. My response (which I think is the response many women would give) is that although women are more vulnerable to violence, women do not see themselves as inherently weak and delicate. In some ways, women are weaker than men, but in other ways, women are stronger. Everyone knows this when they truly stop to think about it. But culture and stereotyping are powerful things. When one group of people is labeled as weak and less deserving and is targeted for violence, that group becomes much more vulnerable than they otherwise would be.

      Many people are afraid that if we start talking about the perpetrators of violence against women, that all men will get lumped in with the perps, when in reality only a portion of the total of men actually take an active part in the abuse. But as the saying goes, “doing nothing is doing something.” When some men are abusive to women, all men benefit from the power imbalance it creates. On some level, all men know and understand this (although not many would admit it out loud or even to themselves).

      Men who do not actively abuse women are in a position to stand up and speak out against abuse of women. If they do not stand up against the abuse of women, then they are part of the problem.

      Some men are afraid of standing up for women if it means running counter to other men or against the general “male culture.” There’s an unspoken male heirarchy that runs very deep within male culture. Therefore, men who hold positions of status are the ones best situated to make a difference.

      Men who are likely to abuse women and see women as second-class citizens are not likely to care what women say about abuse (not at all!). They are more likely to respond if another “strong” male sends out that message. Football players, military heroes, rodeo stars and rock stars would all fall into that category. Those men can make a big difference in influencing male culture, to teach men that some attitudes about power and entitlement are extremely destructive and just plain wrong, to teach men to recognize the signs of abusive attitudes, to understand and re-frame abusive thinking patterns, to think differently (about women and anyone else perceived to be “weaker,”) to explicitly state (and model) alternative behaviors, and to stop abuse of all kinds.

      Violence against women is a Men’s problem. This problem won’t go away until men — all men — own it and work to end it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/luke.held.9 Luke Held

    Wow, Kevin and Jeff are such apologists.  They sound more like representatives of the NFL than journalists.   Where is the introspection and criticism from them?  Terribly disappointing.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mserreze Mary Serreze

    How odd listening to men argue over the relative attractiveness to women of professional athletes and Wall Street moguls.

    • Yobo2

      Yeah, and the way they kept saying “access to women” like they’re talking about, a thing (rather than about other human beings). And as if to say that all women are apparently lumped together. And as if “women” are these passive creatures just sitting there, waiting to be “accessed” (like an ATM machine or something).

      If they’re talking about sex, why don’t they say so.  “Woman” does not equal “sex.” They ought to just say,  “Many women offer to have sex with football players,” if that’s what they mean.

      So much about that conversation was so stilted and strange. I just goes to show that so many guys (including intelligent guys like Tom Ashbrook) still just don’t get it!

  • Gregg Smith
Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

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Beyoncé performs at the 2014 MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Getty)

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Aug 29, 2014
Ukrainian forces guard a checkpoint in the town of Mariupol, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko called an emergency meeting of the nation's security council and canceled a foreign trip Thursday, declaring that "Russian forces have entered Ukraine," as concerns grew about the opening of a new front in the conflict.  (AP)

War moves over Syria, Ukraine. Burger King moves to Canada. Nine-year-olds and Uzis. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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