Cowboys Draw Attention to Domestic Violence Issue

It's not an issue people want to or like to talk about, but it's something the Dallas Cowboys and one of its biggest stars says needs to be addressed in North Texas: domestic violence.

According to The Gatehouse at Grapevine, Dallas and Tarrant counties received 34,366 calls reporting domestic violence in 2014.

The issue of domestic violence has been in the national headlines after high-profiled incidents and suspensions in the NFL. The most notable incidents include former Baltimore Raven Ray Rice and current Cowboy Greg Hardy.

Hardy was placed on the commissioner's exempt list in 2014 and missed 15 games for the Carolina Panthers, while still getting paid. He signed a one-year contract with the Cowboys prior to the 2015 season and although his conviction was overturned and domestic violence charges dropped, he was suspended for the first four games of this season.

Hardy's signing by the Cowboys drew criticism and attention to the issue.

"Together we are going to address the problem," said Cowboys executive vice president Charlotte Jones Anderson. "It is big. It is pervasive but the time is now and the opportunity is now to speak up and speak out."

Anderson made those comments as part of the Dallas Cowboys, Gene and Jerry Jones Foundation and The Gatehouse at Grapevine's "Get in The Game" luncheon Monday at AT&T Stadium. The goal was to bring more attention to the issue and the efforts aimed at stopping domestic violence and helping those impacted.

For all the positive attention the team gets for its play on the field and the negative attention for signing Hardy, Anderson sees an opportunity to address domestic violence.

"It is our responsibility to use that (attention) to bring people together, to create collaborations so that we can not only talk about the issue, but we can make significant change and really change the culture around the issue," Anderson said.

During the luncheon a video was shown of a program the NFL took part in called "Character Development" where high school coaches help educate their players on how to be disciplined and treat women.

"We want to give them the tools to be able to make such a positive impact," Anderson said.

The keynote speaker was Cowboys Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten, whose foundation helps children impacted by domestic violence and abuse. Witten is also a victim of domestic violence as a child.

"With great leadership, with great vision, to say 'no more,'" he told the gathering. "To stop domestic violence."

Dorothy Newton, the ex-wife of longtime Cowboys lineman Nate Newton, also spoke to the crowd about the abuse she experienced at the hands' of her ex-husband.

"I was beaten, broken, bruised, battered, betrayed," she said.

Dorothy Newton wrote about her abuse in a 2012 book entitled Silent Tears.

The Cowboys and The Gatehouse presented financial grants to six outreach groups that are already serving abuse victims across North Texas.

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