A top NFL executive tearfully shared his story of growing up witnessing domestic violence in a Senate hearing on the topic Tuesday.
Hearing chair Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) called on the four major professional sports leagues to develop uniform policies for punishing players who commit crimes against women and children. Troy Vincent, the NFL's executive vice president of football operations, spoke candidly on the issue:
Domestic violence was a way of life in my home growing up. As young boys, my brother and I watched helplessly numerous times as our mother was beaten, and we called 911 while she lay unconscious. We saw how she struggled to seek help, and find the voice and courage to say “no more.” The sense of fear, powerlessness, and all the complexities that accompany this violence remain very real for me today.
I have worked for over 20 years as an advocate against domestic violence to try to help keep others from experiencing this pain. So I very much relate to the more than 12 million victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in every community in this nation, amongst every economic class and racial and ethnic group. [NFL]
Vincent also outlined changes the NFL is making, including a review of its conduct code, mandatory training for players and staff, and improving response to incidents of domestic violence. --Julie Kliegman