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Super Bowl Sunday...Again

Jan 22, 2015 — Categories: ,

In a spirit of full disclosure, it’s true: I am a fan of the game of football. In my hometown, that means the Seattle Seahawks. And that means the Super Bowl on February 1. Having said that, of course I have to comment on the intersection between the NFL and domestic violence. Particularly in light of events this past season, which involved high profile cases of NFL players assaulting family members. As we approach the Super Bowl, the urban myth regarding the increase in domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday will once again make an appearance. It is a myth, by the way, that there is more domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday. We don’t know where it started; probably it was someone’s hunch way back when. But the numbers don’t support it.

In a spirit of full disclosure, it’s true: I am a fan of the game of football. In my hometown, that means the Seattle Seahawks. And that means the Super Bowl on February 1.

Having said that, of course I have to comment on the intersection between the NFL and domestic violence. Particularly in light of events this past season, which involved high profile cases of NFL players assaulting family members.

As we approach the Super Bowl, the urban myth regarding the increase in domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday will once again make an appearance. It is a myth, by the way, that there is more domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday. We don’t know where it started; probably it was someone’s hunch way back when. But the numbers don’t support it. In fact, the numbers do seem to go up during the Christmas holidays. More family time, more alcohol, more economic stress? All these exacerbate domestic violence. But the actual “cause” is the heart and soul of anyone who chooses to control family members and will use any means to do so, including physical and sexual violence.

The problem with linking domestic violence with the Super Bowl is that it oversimplifies the issue and can easily make it someone else’s problem over there, not in my family/workplace/faith community.  “it’s about football...or the military...or guns...or alcohol...” It’s about all of these and more: religion, race, class, gender socialization, etc.

The NFL did get a wake-up call this year.  They are beginning to realize that they are a significant cultural institution as well as a business. On both fronts, they help shape our cultural and social norms, for better or for worse. Their new Personal Conduct Policy is a step forward.  We will be watching for the implementation.Their collaborations with domestic violence groups like No More (www.nomore.org) to promote positive media messages confronting domestic and sexual violence are promising. And it appears that there is public support for tougher sanctions against players who abuse.

Domestic and sexual violence are huge problems everyday. We are all affected; we all pay a huge price. The impact is well-researched and documented. There are the economic costs (such as lost productivity, lost wages, etc.), psychological/medical costs (addiction and recovery services, PTSD, chronic pain, a culture of fear, etc.). There are also the spiritual costs that impact our faith and our culture. To live silently in terror at home is a debilitating, destructive reality. To live in terror at home, isolated from one’s faith community, only exacerbates the harm. This is the part we can change immediately by making our faith communities welcoming, safe places where God’s people stand in solidarity with victims, survivors and their children.

If you’re a fan like me, remember that we have an opportunity to use this Super Bowl as a way to start conversations, especially with those who don’t usually talk about gender-based violence. So go ahead and enjoy the Super Bowl and keep working to address domestic and sexual violence where you live, work and worship. Go Seahawks!

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
www.FaithTrustInstitute.org
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Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
www.FaithTrustInstitute.org
Subscribe to my blog

 

We welcome your comments. Please note that your comments will not be visible until they are approved by the moderator.

- See more at: http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org/blog/marie-fortune/210#sthash.ysM6xufz.dpuf
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Well Said

Posted by Mary Hunt at Jan 28, 2015 01:38 PM
This could be inserted into the weekly bulletins of churches, synagogues, etc. for widespread circulation. It is a very open, affirming post that recognizes the popularity of the whole football industrial complex without judgement. I think it works. Thanks, Marie.