Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The day after Antonio Brown became a player for the New England Patriots, a federal lawsuit was filed accusing him of rape and sexual assault. And the day after that, the Patriots, whose owner Robert Kraft was charged with two counts of solicitation of prostitution at a Florida day spa, responded by putting Brown on the training field.
The NFL’s message is clear–there’s too much money resting on Brown’s career to keep him from playing, or to seriously address the league’s systemic culture of violence against women.
We’ve seen this before when former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulted his then-fiancée in a hotel elevator. At the time, NOW said that the NFL didn’t have a Ray Rice problem, it had a violence against women problem.
It still does.
NOW renews our demand for an independent investigation on domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking within the NFL community, and for enaction of real and lasting reforms. Today, the league’s enforcement of punishment for abuse or domestic violence is secretive, haphazard, inconsistent and inadequate.
Why does the NFL refuse to change its shameful culture? And why is Antonio Brown still on the field? Society must stop the patriarchy’s protection of men who lash out over their imagined grievances and pain, imposing physical and mental harm on women.
America’s game is America’s shame. The NFL’s “boys will be boys” culture of violence against women must stop, now.
Kimberly Hayes, Press Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-570-4745