San Jose, CA March 10, 2015 — The National Women’s Political Caucus of Silicon Valley (NWPC-SV) is saddened to hear that yet another NFL player, San Francisco 49er Bruce Miller, has been arrested for domestic battery and calls upon the NFL and the 49ers to take immediate action. The 49ers have had six players totaling 10 arrests since 2012, the most in the League, which seems indicative of an organization-wide problem. We call upon Jed York to set the tone from the top that this behavior is not acceptable.
“As a woman and an ardent football fan, I am disheartened to see that these men don’t know what out of bounds behavior is unless there’s a ref there to throw a flag on the play,” said NWPC-SV President Angelica Ramos. “These are not isolated incidents and point to a bullying culture against women that isn’t allowed against their opponents but is apparently allowed within the 49er organization because time and time again, there are no consequences” she continued.
NWPC-SV asks what message the 49ers were trying to send when they signed Jerome Simpson who has already been arrested three times for substance abuse issues in the last two years. Statistics have repeatedly shown substance abuse plays a strong role in the abuse of women and children. This, coupled with the prior allegations of violence and intimate partner abuse, show us that the NFL must take action and hold the affiliated professional football teams accountable.
On the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, 16 female United States Senators sent NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a letter demanding he implement a complete zero-tolerance domestic violence policy; it fell on deaf ears. The bipartisan letter, spearheaded by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and signed by 15 colleagues, said “We are deeply concerned that the NFL’s new policy...would allow a player to commit a violent act against a woman and return after a short suspension,” the senators wrote. “If you violently assault a woman, you shouldn’t get a second chance to play football in the NFL.”
NASCAR banned driver Kurt Busch from driving in the opening race of the season while his largest sponsor, Chevrolet, ended its sponsorship as a result of a domestic violence-related no-contact order being granted. No conviction. Although the D.A. has since declined to press charges, NASCAR still has not reinstated Busch. The NWPC-SV appreciates the swift action NASCAR has taken and hopes other sports, like the NFL follow suit.
Ramos said “I’d be remiss as President of the NWPC-SV, which is committed to ending all forms of discrimination, if I didn’t mention how ridiculous it is that Michael Sam isn’t an active player in the NFL. Domestic violence is an acceptable practice throughout the NFL, but loving someone of the same sex is not? This is another shameful practice of the NFL as a whole, and our local sports teams, as the Bay Area is fiercely proud of both its diversity and its teams.”
During a December 2014 hearing on domestic violence in pro sports, members of the Senate Commerce Committee chastised the commissioners of the NFL and other major sports for skipping the hearing. The NFL sent Troy Vincent, the executive vice president of football operations. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV), said: “When you're worried more about getting back on the field, instead of stopping abuse, your priorities are out of order.” Later, during an exchange with the National Football League Players Association's deputy managing director, Teri Patterson, Heller said: "You're either for stopping sexual assault, domestic abuse and child abuse — or you're not."
The National Women’s Political Caucus (NWPC) is a multicultural, intergenerational, and multi-issue grassroots organization dedicated to increasing women’s participation in the political process and creating a true women’s political power base to achieve equality for all women. The mission of NWPC is to increase women's participation in the political process and to identify, recruit, train, and support feminist women for election and appointment to public office. While in pursuit of this goal, NWPC Silicon Valley will strive to win equality for all women; to ensure reproductive freedom, to achieve quality dependent care; and to eradicate sexism, racism, anti-Semitism, ageism, ableism, violence, poverty, and discrimination on the basis of religion or sexual orientation.