Dallas rally with Roger and Emmitt set example for men combating domestic violence

Posted Thursday, Apr. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Men are finally owning up to the problem of domestic violence.

On March 23, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings held a rally in front of City Hall with hundreds of men who pledged to end domestic violence.

Importantly, it included the participation of the Dallas Cowboys. Former Cowboy greats Roger Staubach and Emmitt Smith spoke, as did current cornerback Brandon Carr and a team executive.

This was the right response to the plague of domestic violence in organized sports, as well as the rest of society.

Every day, three women in America are murdered by their boyfriends or husbands.And domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women between ages 15 and 44, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Last year, the problem of domestic violence in sports reared its head when the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher killed his partner, Kasandra Perkins, and then shot himself to death. The Chiefs sent mixed messages, though. The organization held a moment of silence for victims of domestic violence, but it also honored Belcher.

The Chiefs, not the Cowboys, had an obligation to do much, much more -- not only to raise attention to the problem but also to pledge to combat it.

Some male athletes on all levels -- high school, college, professional -- violate women, but because they represent our schools and towns they often get away with it.

Men worthy of the admiration that athletes get should not disrespect women. These men need to use their considerable resources to deal with this problem.

Fortunately, athletes like Emmitt Smith are doing just that.

He told people at the rally that as the father of three daughters, he looks at the statistics on domestic violence and realizes they mean "one of my daughters will be abused at some point by someone."

The Dallas rally was diverse. Men from all walks of life were there: African-Americans, Latinos, Anglos, Christians, Jews, Muslims, sports fans and members of motorcycle clubs.

They took a five-point pledge to:

Never hit a woman.

Speak out against abuse whenever they see it.

Hold other men accountable.

Teach their daughters how men should treat them.

Teach their sons to respect women.

Let's hope that many more men take this pledge -- and live by it.

Starita Smith has written for the Gary Post-Tribune, Columbus Dispatch and Austin American-Statesman. She wrote this for Progressive Media Project.

pmproj@progressive.org

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