Bill Would Urge Pa. Pro Sports Teams to Adopt “Zero-Tolerance” Domestic Violence Policy
A state lawmaker from Clinton County is calling on Pennsylvania’s professional sports teams to take a tougher stance against domestic abuse.
Democratic state Rep. Michael Hanna said he is planning to introduce a resolution in upcoming weeks to officially urge the state’s teams to institute a “zero-tolerance” domestic violence policy.
“Domestic violence is of great concern, particularly in recent months with several domestic violence reports among athletes in the world of professional sports,” Hanna said in a memorandum to House members asking them to co-sponsor his proposal. “This would send a strong message to our athletes that there is a standard of conduct that extends beyond the playing field.”
Last year, a group of female U.S. senators urged the National Football League to adopt a zero-tolerance policy on domestic violence. Their demands came after video emerged in September of then-Ravens running back Ray Rice assaulting his now-wife, Janay Rice. Rice was later cut from the team.
Here’s Hanna’s full memo to House members:
In the near future, I will be introducing a resolution that would urge professional sports teams in this Commonwealth to adopt a zero-tolerance domestic violence policy.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion, profession or gender. Victims of domestic violence are often subjected to abuse, harassment, threats, vandalism, theft and stalking. One in four women and one in seven men will be the victim of severe violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 141 Pennsylvania citizens lost their lives to domestic violence in 2014 alone. Studies show that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. Men who witnessed their parents’ domestic violence as children are twice as likely to abuse their wives, than men who grew up with nonviolent parents.
Domestic violence is of great concern particularly in recent months with several domestic violence reports among athletes in the world of professional sports. It is crucial that a zero tolerance policy for domestic violence be adopted by our professional sports team owners and coaches. This would send a strong message to our athletes that there is a standard of conduct that extends beyond the playing field. Whether they choose to be or not, athletes are role models to millions of American children. We cannot continue to protect individuals who assault and harm their spouses or partners simply because they are a favorite or well-known athlete.
Adam Wagonseller, an aide to Hanna, said roughly a dozen co-sponsors have signed onto the resolution and more are expected to join.