After much delay, members of Congress finally have a response to recent accounts of assault and battery put forth by National Football League players' wives—and they're not stopping with the NFL.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V., held a hearing on domestic violence in professional sports, broadly defined, on Tuesday afternoon, also summoning representatives from Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee.
"Sports have always played a huge role culturally and otherwise in the United States," Sen. Rockefeller began. "Just last week on Thanksgiving, millions of Americans were probably playing more attention to their TV sets than to their turkeys." Ranking member John Thune, R S-D, scolded the leagues for not sending their commissioners.
The hearing comes following public pressure to respond to the now-infamous video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancée unconscious in an elevator. The video sparked national outrage and a wave of activism, with national women's groups like UltraViolet staging elaborate campaigns to raise awareness about the issue.
Yet Rockefeller, in his opening statement was determined to broaden the scope of the conversation, noting that professional athletes of all stripes serve as role models for young Americans and ought to be held to the highest standard. "I hope we can skip protestations that domestic violence is a larger societal problem and not unique to sports," he said.