Dear Mr. Goodell and Mr. Smith:
A lot has been made about National Football League (NFL) players protesting by kneeling, remaining in the locker room, or other means during the national anthem. Speaking up for what you believe in is a profoundly American idea, but disrespecting our flag, and the men and women who have fought to protect and defend our country, is not American in the slightest.
It is time for players in the NFL to stop their protests during the anthem and move on from what has become a divisive political sideshow. Instead, I encourage them to use their voices and influence to take a stand against domestic violence. With the NFL Fall League Meeting occurring tomorrow, during Domestic Violence Awareness Month, now would be an especially opportune time to strongly condemn domestic violence and lead the charge in supporting safe families across America.
On Wednesday, October 11, I sat in the Wisconsin State Capitol and listened to the stories of victims of domestic violence who took a stand, and of advocates who have been working on prevention, shelter, and care services for many years. I also heard about an organization that works to help teach young men to be respectful to young women as a way of preventing domestic violence.
As I sat and heard these amazing stories, it occurred to me that NFL players could have a remarkable impact on awareness and prevention efforts if each player would agree to speak out, as well as agree to take a personal stand, against domestic violence. This is an issue that can unite people across America.
My request is simple: stand for the American flag and the national anthem out of respect for those who risk their lives for our freedoms, and then take a stand against domestic violence to keep American families safe. That’s something we can all agree on, and that just might help the NFL reunite with many of its devoted fans.