Tag Archives: NFL

True Teamwork


The team from Lear Corporation, also the event’s presenting sponsor, poses with the Lions’ mascot, Roary, at the 2015 HAVEN Tailgate Party. 

Guest post by Lindsey Ransone, HAVEN Intern

It’s wild to think that the Olympics ended three weeks ago. The image of Rio’s Mayor, Eduardo Paes, handing over the Olympic flag to Tokyo’s Governor, Yuriko Koike, at the closing ceremony, is left engraved in our memories. It gives us the feeling of unity – anyone, regardless of our differences, or locations, can come together and participate in a global event that symbolizes teamwork.

Not only was true teamwork exhibited by the US Women’s gymnastics team, allowing them to take home the gold, but the team efforts of Abbey D’Agostino of the United States and Nikki Hamblin of New Zealand in the Women’s 5,000-meter run were astounding. Both D’Agostino and Hamblin, who were competing against one another’s country in the event, fell a mile into the race. Instead of leaving one another behind, D’Agostino and Hamblin exemplified great compassion and leadership by helping one another get up and move forward. The message for us is that you can find supporters to help work towards a common goal outside of your group and help each other reach the finish line.

Like those two women, HAVEN has been blessed with a partnership with the Detroit Lions. Both organizations, HAVEN, and the Lions understand that though we are two separate entities, together we are more effective in working towards ending crimes that affect everyone. And it will take all of us to tackle these issues, because sadly one in three Michigan families have been impacted by domestic violence and one in four women and one in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.

On September 25, HAVEN will be partnering with the Lions once again for HAVEN’s 4th annual Tailgate Party at the Birmingham Athletic Club. The event coincides with the Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers game and features a buffet lunch, raffles and auctions, beer and wine, special liquor tastings, as well as speakers to share HAVEN’s mission during halftime.

Together we can achieve the level of teamwork that was showcased during the Olympics and through the Lions’ partnership, to collectively end domestic violence and sexual assault. Won’t you join us?

For more information about HAVEN’s 4th annual Tailgate Party on September 25th and to purchase tickets click here. 


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Calling All Football Fans!

FacebookNewsfeed470x394Guest post by: Kim Doverspike, Executive Director, High 5ive – The Drew Stanton Foundation

Are you ready for some football? For me, the answer has always been a definitive YES! My career in community outreach has been one that has revolved around football and professional football players. First with the Lions, and now as the director for Drew Stanton’s High 5ive Foundation. It has been a rewarding career and I have been able to forge many wonderful relationships with organizations doing great things in the community. One of those is HAVEN, with whom I am proud to say I have been working with for 25 years!

There are many reasons I enjoy working with HAVEN, including getting to know the dedicated people who work tirelessly to advocate for and empower survivors of domestic and sexual violence. The programs that HAVEN staff provides for people who suffer from these horrible crimes are nothing short of necessary and remarkable.

Needless to say, the current stories in the news regarding professional athletes as they relate to domestic violence are not positive. There is a great need for awareness, education, prevention and treatment for those victims of this violence as it relates to not only sports, but all areas of society. That is why you need to get involved! And there are many ways to get involved.

If you are a football fan, and ready for some football, the NFL season is upon us and HAVEN is hosting a Tailgate Party during the Lions vs. Vikings game on September 20th. I can’t think of a better way to start, or continue, your involvement in this burning issue.

Although the headlines regarding professional athletes tend to be negative and some of the situations and circumstances are unimaginable, I can attest from being in the business for 25 plus years that the majority of these athletes are doing great things in the community. And several of them will be attending this event and lending their support to HAVEN for this cause.

This particular event is geared towards engaging male allies as champions and supporters of HAVEN and it offers a fun and relaxed atmosphere where men and women can learn about HAVEN’s efforts to treat and prevent domestic violence and sexual assault.

Please consider becoming a part of the solution by supporting HAVEN. You can help by purchasing an event ticket, becoming a sponsor, donating an auction item or simply offering to assist in any way that might work for you. I can assure you, you will be glad you did.

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Ray Rice was Once a Little Boy

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Before the NFL spotlight and the success, Ray Rice was just a little guy. A sponge ready to learn. Ready to be loved.

What messages did this young boy receive? Was he told to be a man? Was he shown that being a man meant using force to get his needs met? Was he surrounded by male role models that demonstrated respect and equality for the women in his life? Was he told that boys don’t cry? Were incidents of physical aggression explained away by “boys will be boys”?

Ray Rice was once a preteen, presumably playing youth sports. Was he surrounded by coaches that mimicked him if he “ran like a girl”? Was he part of a system where male teams and players were celebrated as heroes and demi-gods? Was he given a free pass for bad behavior due to his status? Did anyone talk to him about the sexist depictions of women that are commonplace in TV, music, movies and video games? Was he taught to respect his female peers? Did the males around him model respectful and healthy relationships?

Ray Rice was once a teenager. Did his teachers, coaches, and family members have high expectations for the non-athlete side of his life? Did he use his male athlete privilege for the good of others? Were girls seen as an athletic conquest and a reward for his athletic success on the playing field? Was he in a locker room that objectified women and girls? Was he or his fellow athletes held accountable for their off field behavior? Did he still carry that free pass, given earlier in life, that “boys will be boys”?

Ray Rice was once a college student. Did his status as a college football player give him a road free of accountability? Did his coaches and trainers convey the messages to suck it up, be a man, victory is everything? Did anyone ever sit him down and talk with him about healthy relationship, gender equality and gender respect? Was his locker room environment filled with sexism and misogyny?

Ray Rice is now, after many years of privilege being held accountable for his abusive behavior towards a woman. He is now being told that such abuse is not acceptable at work (football) and in life. Initially, he was given a near “free pass” with his two-game suspension. It seemed that the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL wanted to ignore or forget the part that happened behind closed doors, albeit an elevator door. But now with the world watching the video of him actually hitting his fiancé, they are on fire.

Imagine now if Ray Rice, as that cute little toddler, was surrounded by people, male and female, who gave him clear instructions and information on how to be a person (regardless of gender). A person who as he grows through life, respects those different than he is, that values women as equals, that uses his privilege for good, that would walk away from conflict, that doesn’t buy into the belief that “boys will be boys.”

The country and media are now playing Monday morning quarterback with this story and placing a lot of blame on the NFL for how the violence was initially handled. And rightly so, the NFL as an employer, should be held accountable. But I wonder, at the same time, how many of these same folks are holding their own employees accountable? Or how many of us are sitting down with our young boys – budding athletes, artists, scientists, doctors, spiritual leaders and having a conversation with them about how what happens behind doors matters – every single time – it matters.

What are you telling your little boy, your preteen, your teen, your college student, your young adult?

This blog was also featured on the Huffington Post Impact Blog

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It’s Time the NFL Takes a Stand

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I love football. I’m not sure exactly why but I just do. It probably has something to do with being raised in a small rural northern Michigan football town and having a family loyal to college football and torn between being a fan of the Detroit Lions or Green Bay. But here I am, a feminist who loves to watch football.

As a woman, I should feel right at home with the NFL. They love women right? I mean look at how nicely they have adopted the use of pink in all of their October games, demonstrating their concern over breast cancer by wearing pink shoes, pink gloves, and pink ribbons everywhere. So of course they love women. They especially love all the women who buy all of the pink themed NFL jerseys and other merchandise, helping the NFL stuff their pockets with green.

They love women so much that they suspended Ray Rice for two whole games, after he was caught on tape dragging his girlfriend out of an elevator after punching her. Two whole games! Thank goodness it wasn’t any longer than that, he might miss out on wearing pink in October.

According to UT-San Diego, 21 out of 32 NFL teams employee at least one player that has a domestic or sexual violence charge, arrest or conviction. And this number could certainly be higher as the data is only pulled from known reported cases and we know that not every case of domestic or sexual violence is reported. The NFL has suspended players for significantly more time (some an entire season) for marijuana use, use of banned drugs, DUI’s, etc. Heck even an illegal tackle during a game of a fully helmeted and padded player will fetch you a suspension of two games or more. Maybe the statement by Rice’s coach, John Harbaugh, sums it up best, “It’s not a big deal, I stand behind Ray. He’s a heck of a guy. He’s done everything right since.”

Domestic violence is a big deal. When at least 25% of women are victimized by such violence, it is a big deal. Just picture an NFL stadium and the thousands and thousands of women filling those stands, more than 25% of them have had a Ray Rice, “not a big deal” violent incident.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in handing down Rice’s punishment wrote, “The league is an entity that depends on integrity and in the confidence of the public, and we simply cannot tolerate conduct that endangers others or reflects negatively on our game. This is particularly true with respect to domestic violence.” The one thing that I am confident about – the NFL doesn’t want to hold its players accountable for domestic violence. I guess no lessons were learned from the murder/suicide of Jovan Belcher.

HAVEN has had the good fortune of having a 20+ year relationship with the Detroit Lions, serving as it’s “Courage House”. During our relationship we have had many discussions, frustrations and disappointments regarding the handling of domestic and sexual violence cases by the team and/or NFL. But we are thankful for the platform this relationship has afforded us, an opportunity to routinely educate Lions’ personnel, players, and fans about the crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. We recognize that many of the players are our biggest allies and are sincere about using their celebrity status to elevate awareness.

So if the NFL isn’t ready to hold individual players accountable for their actions, it can start by holding themselves accountable to bring stronger awareness about the epidemic of violence against women in our culture. Maybe they can join companies such Verizon, Liz Claiborne, and others who are willing to take a stand putting their philanthropic priorities and their policies to work.
As Fox Sports 1 analyst Scott Fujita, stated on Twitter, “The message to my wife & 3 daughters today? The business that’s been such a big part of our life, really doesn’t give a f**k about you.”

Commissioner Goodell, drowning us women in a sea of pink, just doesn’t cut it. Prove to Scott Fujita and the rest of us that the NFL really does care. Sign the petition here calling on the NFL to implement harsher punishments for players involved in incidents of violence against women. 

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