Futures Responds to Jovan Belcher Tragedy
I commit to take a stand against relationship abuse and I believe that violence is neither a solution nor a sign of strength. I understand that by treating everyone with respect, I am a role model to others. By taking this pledge, I publicly denounce violence against women and girls. A world of respect starts today and starts with me.
-Coach and Player Pledge, Coaching Boys into Men
Kansas City Chiefs’ Jovan Belcher may never have heard about Coaching Boys into Men, our signature program that teaches high-school athletes the importance of respect for women and girls and skills to build healthy relationships. But, we wish he had. Working with high school coaches around the country for 10 years, we know they have the power to profoundly influence young athletes. Could it have made a difference for his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins and their 3 month old daughter?
We’ll never know, but it’s pretty clear that the NFL has a problem. A winning football team requires force, aggressiveness, and at times, intimidation. Unfortunately, none of those behaviors translate well to real life. As reported in Slate.com, of the 32 NFL teams, 21 of them have had at least one player charged with domestic violence or sexual assault.
On the positive side, San Francisco 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh came out and told his players in no uncertain terms that violence against women is unacceptable. “If you put your hand on a woman, then you’re done in his book,” said a current 49er.
Coach Harbaugh’s beliefs illustrate the unique position of coaches – at the professional, college, and high school levels – to influence young men and prevent violence before it starts. Our 12 week Coaching Boys into Men “playbook” for high school coaches is built on a series of “teach-easy tactics and trainings” that illustrate ways to leverage teachable moments, and promote positive bystander behavior. The program guides coaches on how to incorporate the philosophies associated with teamwork, respect, integrity, and healthy relationships into practice and strategy sessions.
As the pledge says, “A world of respect starts today and starts with me.” We’ll continue to spread that message early and often. To learn more about Coaching Boys Into Men, please visit: www.coachescorner.org.