Relationship violence permeates society [Letter]

September 13, 2014

The warning signs of relationship violence are around us every day. But, today an elevator surveillance video has brought it to the forefront as a national conversation — a conversation that is long overdue, but one that I have lived before ("Sixteen female senators urge Roger Goodell to adopt zero-tolerance policy against domestic violence," Sept. 11).

On May 3, 2010, my friend Sharon Love lost her daughter Yeardley when she was brutally beaten to death by her ex-boyfriend. Both were Division I lacrosse players at the University of Virginia. What's the connection with the Ray Rice story? Relationship violence. It permeates our society and prevalent in high-level sports.

In order to combat relationship violence, Sharon established the One Love Foundation to honor the memory of Yeardley. Its mission is to end relationship violence through education and technology. It is the vision of the foundation to educate people to recognize the warning signs of relationship violence and motivate them to step up and take action.

But it is with such indignation that I witness the action of the NFL's commissioner who now claims the league never saw the elevator video. Really? Even without the most recent video, the NFL failed to address the core issue. And if this video did not make its way to the media, would the NFL continue to sweep the real issue of relationship violence under the rug?

The NFL has asked former FBI Director Robert Mueller III to conduct an investigation into how the league pursued and handled the evidence, and the owners of the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers will oversee the investigation. Reminds me of the fox guarding the hen house. I have been a Jacksonville Jaguar season ticket holder since Day One, and that makes me a dedicated fan of professional football. Let's hope this outrageous situation leads to major change in the way players, coaches and owners think about relationship violence and the life-long effect it has on so many.

Penny Thompson, Jacksonville, Fla.

The writer is a board member of the One Love Foundation.

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