“Within the last 10 years in the NFL alone, there have been 89 incidents of domestic abuse involving 80 different athletes. We want to have conversations about this issue with high school guys before they ruin their lives; they don’t realize that even a single domestic abuse arrest can have serious implications. A lot of them think they’re untouchable. They’re used to having their bad behavior winked at because they’re superb athletes, and we tell them straight out: ‘When you enter the university and professional level, they aren’t just looking at your athletic ability. If you have a domestic violence history, you’re a liability. You could cost them money and embarrassment. They don’t want you.' On the moral side, domestic violence is wrong; we all know that. But since the Ray Rice case, professional leagues are forced to deal with the issue aggressively and the consequences are much greater. There really is a business to being an athlete. You stand to lose millions of dollars. You stand to lose your education, your freedom, your life.
“One thing that always shocks these guys is hearing that it's wisest not to retaliate at all, even if a woman initiates the confrontation. Men don’t want to feel that they got their ass kicked by a girl; they’re afraid they’ll lose their street cred. So they strike back. And the law says you have the right to defend yourself from the aggressor, no matter the gender. The moral code, however, says a man cannot hit a girl. So if you get into a domestic dispute---even if a female has initiated it---and your retaliation exceeds her initial contact, you’re going to jail. The guys ask, ‘So if she hits me in the face and I hit her back, I’m the one who’ll be arrested?’ And our answer is: that’s right. The police will take one look at the strength and size difference between the two of you, and you’ll be the one wearing silver bracelets. Enforcement of the law leans heavily on the side of the female. It may not be right, but it’s the reality of the situation. And the first charge can lead to an escalating cycle of increased consequences for the man involved.
“We want these young men to understand that they can get themselves into something that’s almost impossible to get out of. They have to stop, take a breath, and THINK. They need to call the police and walk away from a domestic violence situation before they lay their hands on anybody. Young men have to understand that as athletes they have a responsibility to themselves to be upstanding. For some of them, sports may be their ticket out of poverty, and we want them to realize what they stand to lose. Somebody has to start the conversation.”
- Writer for All Heart in Hoop City (online Memphis Grizzlies blog)
Leroy Watson, Athlete / Writer / Broadcaster
- Writer for Memphis Rivals, online talent evaluation site
- Host of iPreps radio show, AM 730, MWF 1-3 pm all about high school athletics
Facebook: Come Correct Foundation