OP/ED: Take Action Against Domestic Violence


Ever since Johnny Manziel announced he was entering the 2014 NFL draft, he’s made major media headlines. Whether it was for his countless of partying, rehab, or to the way he plays on the field, the publicity flocks. 

Earlier this month, Manziel was not in the media for any of those topics. Instead, he made headlines for an alleged roadside domestic violence dispute.

An eyewitness called authorities when she noticed a car pass her at a high rate of speed on the shoulder of an interstate, stating, “there’s a lady in the passenger’s seat trying to jump out. The guy is poking her, bumping her neck.” The witness also stated that the driver cut off several lanes of traffic while crossing over to exit the freeway, in a dangerous way.

Minutes later, a second call to 911 said that a car parked near the exit had a couple that was arguing.

When police arrived on the scene, the driver was identified as Manziel and his girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, as the passenger.

Crowley told police Manziel hit her, pushing her head into the car window, but there was no evidence proving it. The only mark found was on her wrist, which is believed to be caused when Manziel tried to keep her in the car as she attempted to escape the moving vehicle.

Manziel confessed to having two drinks earlier in the day, but it was determined he was sober and Crowley did not press charges.

Then four days later, Manziel and Crowley straightened out their stories, almost like a “nothing to see here” story.

Manziel posted on social media, “Colleen and I got into a dumb public argument on the way home Monday afternoon. It probably looked more interesting than it was and I know I would stop and check if I saw a couple arguing on the side of the road. It was embarrassing but not serious and when we talked to the police and they realized everything was alright and I was sober, we went home together and everything is fine.”

According to NFL’s insider Ian Rapaport’s Twitter, he states, “Manziel is not expected to be disciplined for his role in a roadside incident last week, sources say.”

Now, whether or not the altercation between Manziel and Crowley was actually serious, the two eyewitnesses made the right decision: when you see something, say something.

I’m not saying this because I’m a Manziel fan myself, and not because I want nothing more than the Browns to have a great season, but I’m saying this because when I interned at the District Attorney’s office, I learned that it’s best to step in before it’s too late. And that’s because Domestic Violence is real and it can happen to anyone.

According to Safe Horizon, the nation’s leading victim assistance organization, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner.

One in five women have been raped in their lifetime, and one in 10 women have been raped by intimate partners.

Approximately 15.5 million children are exposed to domestic violence every year, and those children are more likely to attempt suicide, abuse drugs, and commit sexual assault or domestic violence themselves, according to a study done by Nomore.org.

October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and given the NFL’s history with domestic violence, ranging from Greg Hardy, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and the more recent, Joseph Randle, the NFL has been cracking down on domestic violence within the last year. When a current player has or is convicted or on trial, the NFL conduct policy allows them to suspend a player because of the domestic violence code.

Last September the NFL partnered with No More, a “unifying symbol, and public awareness campaign” aimed to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

The league donated air time during games to No More PSAs, which were produced by the Joyful Heart Foundation. The PSAs which had already been running for over a year before the NFL partnership began, featured celebrities shouting out common excuses and myths about domestic violence

Well, she didn’t say no.

Boys will be boys.

We warned her.

That’s just how he is.

And concluding with No More.

Once the ads hit the NFL airwaves a few weeks into the season, the Joyful Heart Foundation started to hear from players who wanted to get involved. Amongst these players were Jason Witten, Chris Carter, Eli Manning, Mark Herzlich, William Gay and Antonio Gates.

The ads featuring NFL players were shown every week until the playoffs. These ads are still shown between commercials of USA’s Law and Order: Special Victims Unit “No More Excuses” marathon.

We all know Law and Order mirror’s real life. And it’s something we all need to take into consideration and take a stand for. On nomore.org, they have an option where you can take a pledge against domestic violence and sexual assault.

If you take the pledge like I did,  you’re taking an important step towards creating a society where domestic violence (DV) and sexual assault (SA) are not only unacceptable, but all of the actions that contribute to DV/SA are unacceptable.

The dispute between Manziel and his girlfriend may not have been very serious, but it’s best to take a stand and say “no more.”

No more He was drunk or He said he was sorry.

No more not on this team or it’s just a women’s issue.

No more next time I’ll say something or it’s none of my business.

No more by-standing. No more ignorance. No more excuses.

Take action against domestic violence.