The recent events surrounding Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, and the NFL’s lack of response and accountability is bigger than the NFL.  In fact the NFL is simply reflecting the views of our larger society which too often demonstrates a lack of respect for women and girls.  Moreover, our society excuses the violence and abuse men inflict on women as witnessed by both the criminal legal response as well as the response from the NFL.  Even in the aftermath, we see the entitlements and privilege many men believe they have which were glaring within the ignorant and inappropriate comments by Stephen A. Smith, and, show total disregard for the lives and safety of women.

It is 2014 and My Sisters’ Place will continue to give voice to this issue.  It bears repeating—domestic violence is a serious, life threatening issue, not to be demeaned or discounted because “she didn’t leave”.  We hope the NFL will commit to significant change in their policy around intimate partner abuse and send a clear message of zero tolerance.  A two game suspension isolates all victims who have not been taken seriously.

My Sisters’ Place and our Project Team On! initiative have been working to educate athletes of all ages on healthy relationships and respect.  We work to redefine strength and manhood so everyone can engage in safe and equal relationships.  It is important to teach young men the distinction between their “on field” and “off field” relationships.  MSP is immensely proud of Project Team On! and the athletes that affirm that violence is neither a sign of strength nor a solution.

Join us– Take the Pledge!  A world of respect starts today and it starts with us.

Take The Pledge at www.mspny.org.