WASHINGTON (AP) — NFL executive and former player Troy Vincent choked up Tuesday as he testified before a Senate Commerce Committee hearing about domestic violence in professional sports.
Vincent said abuse was a “way of life” in his home when he was growing up because his mother was beaten.
The NFL’s executive vice president of football operations was the first of eight witnesses to speak at the hearing. Along with the NFL and its players’ association, representatives of Major League Baseball, the NBA and NHL — and their unions — were scheduled to testify.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the West Virginia Democrat who chairs the panel, told Vincent his testimony was “a good beginning.”
But Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the committee’s ranking Republican, earlier chastised the leagues for not sending their commissioners Tuesday.
And in a remark directed at the NFL Players Association, Sen. Dean Heller, a Nevada Republican, said: “When you’re worried more about getting back on the field, instead of stopping abuse, your priorities are out of order.”
In his opening statement, Rockefeller said he called for the hearing because “until very recently, the leagues’ records have not been good” on the issue.
Rockefeller added that “the leagues have done little or nothing in response” when players have been charged or convicted for domestic violence.
The NFLPA said Monday it would not be represented, but on Tuesday, its deputy managing director, Teri Patterson, was added to the witness list. NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith sent Rockefeller a letter saying the union is establishing a commission to advise it
on domestic violence prevention and punishment.
Domestic violence has become a main topic across the sports landscape in recent months, particularly in light of the case of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice.
He punched his then-fiancee — now wife — in a casino elevator and originally was suspended by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for two games, then barred indefinitely after video of the incident emerged. Eventually, though, that second punishment was erased by an
arbitrator when Rice appealed.
In New York on Tuesday, there was an appeal hearing for Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who was suspended for the rest of the season after pleading no contest to misdemeanor reckless assault for injuring his 4-year-old son with a wooden switch.
In the NBA, Charlotte Hornets forward Jeffery Taylor was suspended for 24 games without pay in November after pleading guilty to misdemeanor domestic violence assault and malicious destruction of hotel property.
Professional Sports Hall of Shame
1. Ray McDonaldSource:AP 1 of 26
2. Warren Sapp2 of 26
3. Josh GordonSource:AP 3 of 26
4. Josh BrentSource:AP 4 of 26
5. Dimitri PattersonSource:AP 5 of 26
6. Floyd MayweatherSource:Instagram 6 of 26
7. Darren SharperSource:AP 7 of 26
8. Ray RiceSource:AP 8 of 26
9. O.J. Simpson9 of 26
10. Raw Carruth10 of 26
11. Plaxico Burress11 of 26
12. Dwayne Goodrich12 of 26
13. Aaron Hernandez13 of 26
14. Michael Vick14 of 26
15. Terry 'Tank' Johnson15 of 26
16. Donte Stallworth16 of 26
17. Darryl Henly17 of 26
18. Pete Rose18 of 26
19. Darryl Strawberry19 of 26
20. Jayson Williams20 of 26
21. Tom Payne21 of 26
22. Mike Tyson22 of 26
23. Tonya Harding23 of 26
24. Marion Jones24 of 26
25. Mike Danton25 of 26
26. Chad Johnson26 of 26
(Photo Source: AP)