NFL No Fat Lips!

Sep 20, 2014 by

Tom Watkins – Violence against women must end in America and around the globe.

As a developed nation, shouldn’t the U.S. be better than some third world nations where women are assaulted at will with little moral or criminal consequence?


My daughter, Katherine, my son Daniel, and grandson Owen as well as other little boys and girls deserve to live in a world where acts of violence against women are not acceptable and when committed, punishment is swift, harsh, and fairly administered.


What we have learned about former NFL Player Ray Rice’s brutal assault against a woman is criminal.


The latest bomb from the NFL is that the Commissioner’s office (if not the Commissioner, himself), viewed an elevator video of Rice punching and knocking out a women (whom he later married). At that time, they decided a fitting punishment was a 2-game suspension. The NFL’s reaction to violence against women is simply sick.



I say the NFL Commissioner needs to be fired by NFL owners as a first step in demonstrating violence against women will not be tolerated by the league. There ought to be a heavy cost for looking the other way when women are brutalized.


A Global Problem Hits Home


Every abused woman was once someone’s daughter, someone’s little girl.


In 2006, Kofi Annan, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, declared in a report from the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), now known as UN Women (, that,”Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her.” This is as pathetic and sad as it is evil and unacceptable.


My beautiful, smart daughter, Katherine with her  innocent nephew, Owen; photo: T. Watkins


Closer To Home


According to U.S. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (


  • One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
  • An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
  • 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
  • Intimate partner violence results in more than 18.5 million mental health care visits each year.
  • Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
  • Almost one-third of female homicide victims that are reported in police records are killed by an intimate partner.
  • In 70-80% of intimate partner homicides, no matter which partner was killed, the man physically abused the woman before the murder.
  • Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
  • Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
  • Victims of intimate partner violence lost almost 8 million days of paid work because of the violence perpetrated against them by current or former husbands, boyfriends and dates.
  • The cost domestic violence exceeds $5.8 billion each year, $4.1 billion of which is for direct medical and mental health services.


Imagine brutality against your mom, a spouse, significant other, niece or daughter. It is happening far too often. Feel the anger and rage building inside of you?


Take action now. Collectively, as a society, we must capture, bottle, and distribute that rage in an effort to helpend the culture of violence against women.


My "Little Girl"; photo: T. Watkins


Build On Moral Outrage
Real men don’t hit women and a great nation does not tolerate violence against them. Can the coalition against domestic violence grow and take action to change the culture of violence against women in Michigan and all across America?
The NFL Should Hang Its Head In Shame
As I watched the months of denial, “boys will be boys,” wrist slaps and attempts at media spin (reminiscent of the best NFL running back attempting to reach the end zone) my outrage grew.


We all should be red with rage: I call on real men, who stand against violence to women to be fed up and declare: ”No more!”


  • No more excuses
  • No more looking the other way while a women is abused
  • No more employers or law enforcement personnel treating domestic violence lightly






Perhaps domestic violence coalitions, women’s groups, law enforcement officials, political, civic, civil rights and religious organizations and like-minded men’s organizations can stop simply cursing the darkness and light a candle of change.


Let call for the wearing of red to a future Monday Night NFL or Future Baltimore Raven’s game to dramatize our support to end the culture of violence against women. Perhaps like-minded NFL players can wear red as well as a sign of solidarity and support.


The culture of violence in this country, especially against women, must end. Where is the outrage? Where is the action?
Let this be the beginning of the end of the culture of acceptance of violence against women in America.
No more!


Tom Watkins is a parent of a daughter that he never wants to see abused and a grandson he wants to inherit a better world. He is the president and CEO of the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority ( and sees first hand the consequences of domestic abuse on our families and our community. He can be emailed at:, or followed on twitter at: @tdwatkins88.


Need help? Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or 1-800-787-3224 TTD. For mental health and substance abuse assistance in Detroit/Wayne County call: 800 241-4949


Help is a click away at: Michigan Resource Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence,1607,7-192-29941_30586_240-2884–,00.html

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