The idea, according to No More’s Web site, is to encourage conversations about domestic violence and sexual assault.
The NFL’s taken a hit on the subject with the case of former Baltimore Ravens Ray Rice this fall. Other players, though, grew up with domestic violence. Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay has worn purple cleats to bring attention to the issue. He was just 8 years old when his step-father shot and killed his mother before turning the gun on himself. As Gay told Sports Illustrated, “I was told, years later, that she was trying to get out. That she had finally found the strength to walk away from an abusive relationship that I had no idea about—at the time I didn’t even know what domestic violence was. My stepfather wouldn’t let her go, and things escalated.”
The mother of Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen managed to escape two abusive relationships, he said during an ESPN interview. “Mom always said not to put my hands on a woman,” Allen said. “That’s one thing I take very seriously.”
Actress Mariska Hargitay, founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation, directed some of the PSAs, along with actors Tate Donovan and Blair Underwood.
It’s not surprising that a number of players have had such experiences when you consider the staggering numbers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men age 18 and older in the United States have been the victim of severe physical violence from an intimate partner.
Yet a survey funded by the Avon Foundation for Women found that 3 out of 4 parents with children under age 18 have not talked about domestic violence or sexual assault with their kids.
Not exactly the topics you may want to discuss over turkey and cranberry sauce. Perhaps at halftime.