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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.

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2 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Black Women Ask NFL Domestic Violence Board To Reflect NFL

  1. Onesphor Kyara on said:

    Are White Women Unintentionally Exploiting African-Americans
    Recent history has witnessed struggles by African-Americans to right the wrongs of yesteryears, but ended up benefiting unintended groups that had not participated in them. Three major players and instances – NAACP and the Civil Rights movement; Anita Hill and the Clarence Thomas sexual harassment saga; and the Rice and Anderson hullabaloo around spanking and spousal abuse — have been used to publicize those issues mainly for the benefit of the white-dominated society. Of concern is that African-Americans pay a hefty price for societal problems that cut across races, classes, ethnicities, and sexes.
    The manifest goal of NAACP and the Civil Rights Movements was to end desegregation, racial discrimination, lynch-like violence, and biased unemployment. Rosa Park set the stage for bus boycotts in Montgomery, the Selma to Montgomery marches, sit-ins at Woolworth’s lunch counters, culminating with the King-led 1963 freedom and jobs March on Washington. The Brown vs. Board of Education that ended school desegregation was one of the major achievements. So was the end of discrimination in employment and access to public accommodations.
    Although white women did not take part in the struggles for civil rights, with some opposing them, they also latently benefitted following the end of hiring discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion or national origin. The EEOC regulatory body safeguarded the interests of African-Americans and white females, as well as Hispanic and Oriental females. The Affirmative Action benefitted not only African –Americans, but also females of all races. Federal, state, and cities were directed to offer equal number of contracts to black and female contactors. Admission to colleges took race and gender into consideration. Gender biased criteria for military or police services, such as weight, height, or pregnancy, were removed. Apparently, the sociological “minority” is not a numerical term, but a qualitative one: It includes groups that have historically been excluded from accessing resources, power and prestige. Thus, any program that is designed to benefit African-Americans as an economic minority par excellence, also benefits white females. Besides, what will stop a white male from using his “minority” female partner to win a city contract?
    The problem of sexual harassment at the white-dominated workplace had existed before Anita Hill, but she became the poster child for the phenomenon. Of concern is why white females did not take up arms theretofore to fight against the usually white bosses? Did they have to wait for the African-American “brother” and sister to do the dirty work for them?
    When, in 1991, Thurgood Marshall, the liberal-minded icon of civil rights movement in the Supreme Court retired, it was a big blow to African-Americans. He had legally championed school desegregation. Republican President Bush decided to replace him with a conservative African-American — Clarence Thomas — who was likely to undo the civil right gains. Democrats, African-Americans and women groups opposed the nomination, but in vain.
    When the vetting process reached the Senate Floor, gloves came off: Anita Hill, a law professor, was brought in to belatedly accuse Thomas of sexual harassment while they both working at EEOC. The hearing sessions stooped as low as bringing up high-school discussions about inappropriate sexual behavior and pornography. The media ran away with Hill’s allegations. Thomas fought back by playing the race card he was known to have downplayed in the past: He declared he was a victim of “high-tech lynching for uppity Blacks.”
    Although Thomas was eventually confirmed, the legacy of their saga was to bring sexual harassment to the front burner. According to EEOC, between 1991 and 1996, sexual harassment complaints jumped from 6,127 to 15, 342. Awards to mostly white female victims almost quadrupled from 7.7 million to 27.8 million dollars.
    House wives, including white, brown, and oriental, breathe a sigh of relief following the recent accusations of spousal abuse involving Ray Rice, the Ravens footballer. Despite the fact that the “victim” admitted her part in the unacceptable encounter (the tongue can leave even deeper marks!), the media and the court of public opinion did not relent. Rice and other African- American players have become shining faces of spousal abuse nationwide and beyond.
    Even white kids seem to have benefitted from footballer Adrian Peterson. Incidentally, as you read this word, a white kid is being spanked somewhere in the suburb. As you grunt, a Catholic nun is paddling a mischievous third grader. It does not matter that about 19 states allow corporal punishment at home, while 20 allow it in public schools. An African-American mother has to decide whether to spank her son now while he is till malleable, or have him get “spanked” later by inmates. Do court clerks lose their bread-winning opportunities for disciplining their kids, or administering bruise-free slaps on the their wives’ cheeks?
    As if African-Americans have not been adequately used to bring to the national consciousness human-related issues, they have also been “exploited” by the humane society to safeguard the wellbeing of animals. Michael Vick and company were conveniently employed to hopefully end dog fighting. Paradoxically, it seems cruelty against animals earns one 23 months in prison sooner than cruelty against a fellow human being.
    African-Americans might have assisted the extension of voting rights to white women and others. The women must have lamented about being overlooked by the 1870 15th Amendment that extended voting rights to African-American males — descendants of former slaves! It was not until 50 years later that the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote was passed. Hadn’t African-Americans received voting rights before them, women could be waiting to-date — reminiscent of the persistence of unequal pay along gender lines today.
    In that conjunction, the first African–American President, Obama, may have enhanced the chances of having the first female president come 2016. I can just imagine how upset white women were when they learned an African-American became president before one of their own did. I will not be surprised if Hilary Clinton’s supporters play the race card while arguing their case for a female president.
    Thus, in addition to being “exploited” in aspects of civil rights to minorities, affirmative action, sexual harassment, spanking, spousal violence, animal cruelty, Hollywood inter-racial marital violence (OJ), group-specific profiling (NJ Turnpike), rape (Tyson), how long will African-Americans at the societal periphery continue to personify social problems at the white-dominated societal core?

    In this age of globalization, of concern is whether the female-centered maladies and probable remedy could be achieved and sustained not only in America, but also overseas! Unfortunately, anti-women legislation and violence are likely to continue as long as there is no true democracy (50/50 male/female representation). In my book, “An African Student in Russia,” I argue that we currently have “homocracy” (male-rule), not democracy. We are still in Ancient Athens where “democracy” took shape; women, slaves and the landless were excluded from the “Demo/People” category. Short of true democracy, violence against women in the world will continue.
    Countries notorious for female injustice and violent include Afghanistan (female illiteracy); Democratic Republic of Congo (militarize/war rape); Bangladesh (human trafficking); China (female infanticide); Ecuador (honor killing); India (caste cleansing); Pakistan (dowry violence); Syria (refugee abuse); Azerbaijan (abduction marriage); Thailand (child prostitution); Ghana (ritual sexual slavery); Nepal (forced prostitution); Ireland (forced abortion); Qatar (female stoning); and East European Roma Population (forced sterilization). Of concern is who will act as poster children for the social ills in question to shine media light Hollywood dramatization? African-American athletes and personalities can only be “exploited” up to a certain geographical limit – not beyond.
    Onesphor Kyara, Ph.D.

  2. seriously on said:

    To be fair on this topic, black women are to blame for being overlooked on so many women issues. One, is the constant backstabbing of each other, two, the acceptance of gangsta rap which maligns women (black women), with vile, vulgarity etc…Not to mention black females are the biggest supporters of R. Kelly a child molester, we all know that if his victims were not black, poor and runaways and would have been his neighbors’s 14 and 15 years old girls living in a multimillion dollars. R. Kelly ass would be under the jail.

    However, not enough black women united to stop none of the above, so your input is not widely needed or believed. White women would have shut gangsta white rap down calling them bitches and hoes and demanded that Kelly go to jail as a registered sex offender. The females victims would probably get more sympathy and support from black men.

    Change always starts from the inside individually. Got stand for something even if its unpopular…

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