This is an open letter to the NFL and the Players Association:
Are you guys thinking or have you given it up in your pursuit of the almighty dollar? I cannot believe your value system.
A man -- a player -- is arrested (in connection) with the drive-by shooting of his pregnant ex-girlfriend. Instead of taking a stand against domestic abuse by a member of your organization, instead of questioning the message you are sending to the other players and the fans, which, by the way, include my 9-year-old stepson, instead of being responsible, you suspend the man with pay.
To the rest of the working class in America, this suspension with pay is what we call a vacation.
Then, in your infinite wisdom, you suspend a man for four games without pay because he says he accidentally took steroids and you have a zero-tolerance policy against steroids. This person is hurting no one but himself, and you suspend him without pay, but a man who (allegedly) shoots a pregnant woman, you give him a vacation.
Let me give you some facts that I hope will open your eyes to the problem you are condoning with your decision. One out of every four women in this country reports having been abused by an intimate partner. Approximately 6 million women are beaten each year. Each day, more women are hurt in their homes by men who profess to love them than by rapes, muggings and accidents combined. Every year 4,000 women die as a direct result of abuse by an intimate partner.
You have sent the message to your players and your fans that domestic abuse is acceptable. Is this the message you intend to send? Is this the message you want your sons and grandsons to get?
You can make a difference in the crime of domestic abuse. You can take a stand by enforcing a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence as you have against steroids. Use your power to make a difference. Don't condone abuse against women. Please consider changing your stand.
Connie Blanton, Wife and mother of football fans and domestic violence victim advocate, Payson