October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a timely reminder for the NFL to do the right thing, to forget about the good ol' boys club and to change social consciousness when it comes to competition, aggression and power.
Aggression has its place when defending our country, suppressing our enemies, thwarting injustices and even while playing football. However, there is no place for aggression within a marriage or intimate relationships.
When you hear that 85 NFL players have been arrested for domestic-related violence and only 11 percent have received suspensions from the NFL, you have to wonder where the industry's mindset is -- and what their priorities are.
Many men and women are questioning whether human decency, respect, fairness and integrity are being thrown out the window, just because a player does his job well and is popular with the fans.
Dr. Richard Lapchick, founder of the National Consortium for Academics and Sports, is recognized for his expertise on sports related issues. He says, "I believe they can and should implement training on the issue on a team-by-team basis so players and also the front office get training ... They could create education year-round, adopting it as a part of their culture."
We are co-authors of an 8-hour and 12-hour online anger management program that focuses on awareness, communication and personal empowerment in our relationship. The program helps us understand the key triggers that set us off, how our actions impact family and friends, what tools can be used to manage our feelings and how to use early warning signs to redirect strong emotions into healthier, more constructive alternatives.
Can the NFL benefit from a program like this? Would understanding how to fight fairly, communicate clearly and handle your pressing challenges help some players who can't separate aggression on the field from civility at home? It appears so.
There is a time and a place for everything and the home needs to be a safe haven -- a secure, welcoming environment, free from fear, repercussions and consequences. A healthy marriage is an equal partnership with neither spouse more powerful, intimidating or threatening than the other. No one should be made to feel less significant or unworthy of respect. Spouses of these NFL players, and their children, have the right to feel safe and secure. After a divorce, as well.
If the NFL steps up, teaches their athletes the difference between aggression on the field and appropriate non-aggressive behaviors at home, they can become the poster-child for reducing the cycle of violence -- which appears to be difficult for some players who can't turn down the mentality of brutality.
For more information about our online anger management programs, visit here.
Amy Sherman, LMHC is a licensed therapist in private practice in Florida as well as a Dating & Relationship Coach. Rosalind Sedacca is a Certified Corporate Trainer, a Relationship Coach and Divorce & Parenting Coach. They are co-authors of 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Dating After 40, 50 & Yes, 60! They are also co-creators of the DatingRescue eCcourse for women and Mastering the Challenges of Dating: A Success Formula for Men.