What message is the NFL really sending?

The National Football League claims they are taking a stand to combat domestic violence. However, with New York Giant’s kicker, Josh Brown, only getting a one game suspension after violating a restraining order that was in place after his arrest in 2015 on domestic violence charges, what stance are they really taking? The owner of the Giants, John Mara, has defended the team’s decision to keep Brown after the violation and subsequent arrest, stating that even though they were aware of the arrest they were "also aware of the allegations associated with that arrest, and the fact that the charges were dropped within a couple days after the arrest.” The Giant’s coach Ben McAdoo has stated he has "zero tolerance” for domestic violence. However, as an outsider looking in, it appears that there actually is some tolerance for domestic violence.

In our work, we know that there are many reasons why victims choose to drop charges. It often is not because the allegations were false; instead, it is often because the victim does not want to undergo a grueling court process that can take years or to be re-victimized every time they retell the story.

 Last year the National Football League released a public service announcement as a part of their initiative to combat domestic violence. The PSA video is set to a real conversation that took place between a victim of domestic violence and a 911 dispatcher. The victim pretended she was ordering a pizza so that her abuser would not be suspicious of her calling the police. Though releasing PSA videos is a start, it means nothing if the league does not take appropriate action that aligns with their supposed "zero tolerance” policy. 

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