A coalition of prominent African-American women is asking for an emergency meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and urging him to hire Black women to serve on the NFL’s all-white Domestic Violence Advisory Board. Melanie Campbell, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and National Convener of the Black Women’s Roundtable, said she is concerned by Goddell’s appointment of four white women as domestic violence experts.
“Goodell’s lack of inclusion of women of color, especially Black women—who are disproportionately impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault and other forms of violence; and the fact that over 66% of the NFL players are made up of African-Americans is unacceptable,” Campbell said at a press conference this week during the Congressional Black Caucus ‘ annual legislative conference.
“Today we are here to alert the commissioner that he still has not “gotten it right” and urge him to take swift action to “get it right,” starting by appointing Black women experts in domestic violence and sexual assault to the recently established NFL Domestic Violence Advisory Board,” Campbell said.
Campbell said 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.
And why didn’t the NFL name any Black men to the advisory board? There are plenty of qualified African American men who are experts on domestic violence and whose advice and guidance might better resonate with players. There are three high-profile cases of domestic violence in the NFL today – all involving Black men.
In the case of Adrian Peterson, the high-profile running back for the Minnesota Vikings who was indicted on child abuse charges and deactivated from the team, Peterson said he disciplined his 4-year-old son with a switch. Peterson has said that he loves his son and admits that he disciplined his son as he was disciplined as a child.
He says he’s not a child abuser, although the child, reportedly, had visible marks on his body. Running back Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely by the Ravens — and the NFL — after video emerged him punching his then-fiancée in the face and knocking her unconscious in a hotel elevator in Atlantic City eight months ago. Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals’ on aggravated assault for an incident that occurred in July.
According to reports, Dwyer’s wife said she was head-butted by him because she refused to have sex with him. The head-butt broke her nose. The next day, Dwyer allegedly punched his wife in the face and threw her cellphone down the stairs when she attempted to call for help. She also said Dwyer threw a shoe at their 18-month-old child.
“The NFL’s advisory team must include black women with a demonstrated expertise in the development and implementation of culturally-specific services, policies and programs addressing domestic violence and sexual assault in the black community,” said Karla Cottman, executive director of D.C. Coalition Against Domestic Violence.