Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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In the wake of the coverage of the multiple incidences of domestic violence among NFL players, the NFL has announced a multi-year, multimillion dollar commitment to the National Domestic Violence hotline.

The Ray Rice video saw a large increase in calls the hotline received in a short period of time, highlighting a problem that programs like the hotline suffer from: resources. Last year, the hotline didn’t have enough staff to answer 77,000 calls. The hotline’s press release below:

AUSTIN, TEXAS – The National Domestic Violence Hotline (the Hotline) is pleased to announce that the National Football League (NFL) has committed to providing significant resources to the organization that will allow the organization to virtually answer every call, chat and text from domestic violence victims, survivors, their loved ones and even abusers for the next five years.

“We have never had the funding needed to meet the demand for our services from those seeking help with domestic violence and dating abuse. Last year, because of this lack of resources, more than 77,000 calls went unanswered. Recent domestic violence incidents involving NFL players pushed the capacity of our organization to unprecedented levels,” said Katie Ray-Jones, president and chief executive officer of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “Because of this long-term commitment by the NFL to provide The Hotline with much-needed resources, our services will finally be accessible to all those who need us when they bravely take the first step to find safety and live a life free of abuse.”

Immediately following the release of video last week showing former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancé in an elevator, the Hotline’s call volume increased by 84% and has remained higher than normal with spikes happening after each new report about domestic violence charges against NFL players. As the controversies continue, the Hotline has been unable to answer nearly 50 percent of the calls, chats and texts.

“Our decision to enter into a long-term partnership with the NFL will help us immediately increase our ability to hire additional advocates, improve our infrastructure and provide more education about domestic violence that affects one in four women and one in seven men in their lifetimes,” said Maury Lane, chair of the board of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. “It is important that we answer their calls.”

Of those who reach out to the Hotline for help, 95% are experiencing emotional and verbal abuse including degradation, insults, humiliation, isolation, stalking, and threats of violence against themselves and their children and loved ones. Often, the abuser threatens suicide. More than 70% are experiencing severe physical violence and say they’ve been slapped, choked, punched, pistol whipped and beaten. This physical abuse has resulted in bruises, cuts, miscarriages, broken bones. Nearly 10% of those reaching out to the Hotline for help have experienced sexual violence. They’ve been raped, exploited, sexually coerced, even forced to get pregnant in order to keep them tied to their abuser.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a non-profit organization established in 1996 as a component of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Operating around the clock, confidential and free of cost, the Hotline provides victims and survivors with life-saving tools and immediate support. Callers to the hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) can expect highly trained advocates to offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information and referral services in more than 200 languages. Visitors to TheHotline.org can find information about domestic violence, safety planning, local resources, and ways to support the organization.

The Hotline relies on the generous support of individuals, private gifts from corporations and foundations and federal grants. It is funded in part by Grant Number 90EV0407/03 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)/ Family Violence Prevention and Services Program, a division of the Family and Youth Services Bureau in the Administration for Children and Families. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Administration for Children and Families or the U.S. Department of HHS.

UPDATE: Jerome Simpson has been released by the Vikings, per a statement from them

The circus continues with the Vikings. Nearly done with his suspension with the Vikings, he found himself in trouble again. From Matt Vensel at the Star Tribune:

The Vikings receiver was cited July 7 on charges of marijuana possession, open bottle and violating a limited drivers license, according to Hennepin County Court records.

He has a Nov. 3 court appearance.

ESPN was first to report the news. The team has not issued a comment.

Simpson is serving a three-game suspension by the NFL for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, stemming from a drunken-driving arrest last season.

Simpson was arrested Nov. 9 but avoided jail time in January after pleading guilty to careless driving and third-degree drunken driving. Simpson was placed on a one-year probation and ordered to perform 120 hours of community service.

This is Simpson’s second suspension from the NFL. He previously was suspended for three games when he first signed with the Vikings in 2012 related to a drug arrest in September 2011 while he was a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Dude might be gone soon.

UPDATE: Hennepin County probation was unaware of the citation.

 

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I’ve written a number of Adrian Peterson articles this week that ended up getting deleted forever.  To be honest, I’m kind of shell-shocked and am just going to try and push forward, for now.  I’m hoping you find that somewhat refreshing.

During today’s media circus at Winter Park, coach Mike Zimmer revealed that linebacker Chad Greenway has suffered a broken hand, and his status is in question.  Zimmer said he is hopeful that Greenway will be able to play.  I’d source this report with a link, but the press conference was aired on pretty much every channel on my TV, so take your pick.

Right tackle Phil Loadholt (ankle), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (groin), and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) were also mentioned by Zimmer.  He seemed particularly optimistic that Rhodes and Floyd will be good to go for the upcoming game in New Orleans.

The Vikings have released the following statement after discussions with the NFL, and have placed Adrian Peterson on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission List. Statement below:

This has been an ongoing and deliberate process since last Friday’s news. In conversations with the NFL over the last two days, the Vikings advised the League of the team’s decision to revisit the situation regarding Adrian Peterson. In response, the League informed the team of the option to place Adrian on the Exempt/Commissioner’s Permission list, which will require that Adrian remain away from all team activities while allowing him to take care of his personal situation until the legal proceedings are resolved. After giving the situation additional thought, we have decided this is the appropriate course of action for the organization and for Adrian.

We are always focused on trying to make the right decision as an organization. We embrace our role – and the responsibilities that go with it – as a leader in the community, as a business partner and as an organization that can build bridges with our fans and positively impact this great region. We appreciate and value the input we have received from our fans, our partners and the community.

While we were trying to make a balanced decision yesterday, after further reflection we have concluded that this resolution is best for the Vikings and for Adrian. We want to be clear: we have a strong stance regarding the protection and welfare of children, and we want to be sure we get this right. At the same time we want to express our support for Adrian and acknowledge his seven-plus years of outstanding commitment to this organization and this community. Adrian emphasized his desire to avoid further distraction to his teammates and coaches while focusing on his current situation; this resolution accomplishes these objectives as well.

We will support Adrian during this legal and personal process, but we firmly believe and realize this is the right decision. We hope that all of our fans can respect the process that we have gone through to reach this final decision. – Zygi Wilf and Mark Wilf

This means that Adrian will be paid by the Vikings but will not count against the 53-man roster, giving the Vikings another roster spot they can fill, presumably giving room for Zach Line to join the roster once more (I completely forgot about Jerome Simpson, who would take this spot). Adrian will stay on the list until his legal proceedings are done.

Those legal proceedings will very likely conclude well after the 2014 season is over, which could mean that he isn’t only done for the season but for the Vikings overall. This means that Adrian Peterson will not earn a Credited Season (which requires full pay status for at least three games), which means he does not count as a nine-year veteran next year, but as an eight-year veteran. That’s significant for a few things, including veteran’s minimum, post-retirement benefits and so on. Luckily for Peterson, the minimum salary for an eight-year veteran is the same as a nine-year veteran (though the maximum benefit triggers at 10+ years).

This should not affect his contract, however, just his status for various benefits. His pay should not count against the salary cap as far as I can tell.

The Vikings in a small way have admitted a mistake on their part for how they handled it in the past—the phrase “after further reflection” seems to imply that they reconsidered the wisdom of the decision. We’ll probably never know if it was a result of the numerous sponsorships being pulled or a genuine reconsideration, or (more likely) a combination of the two.

UPDATE: There’s a statement from Adrian Peterson’s agent:

This is the best possible outcome given the circumstances. Adrian understands the gravity of the situation and this enables him to take care of his personal situation. We fully support Adrian and he looks forward to watching his teammates and coaches being successful during his absence.

UPDATE2: Adam Schefter reports that they do intend to bring Adrian back.

UPDATE3: NFL Statement:

This is a good decision that will allow Adrian Peterson to resolve his personal situation and the Vikings to return the focus to the football field.

For an analysis of Matt Asiata as a starting back, click here. For the long-term effect of his absence, click here.

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Several different reports have indicated that the Vikings may not end up playing Adrian Peterson on Sunday once more. First reported by Pro Football Talk—

Then reported by Mike Freeman—

The hope is that if this is the case, the Vikings can put together a more specific gameplan that caters to the different strengths of the two other running backs on the roster.

Meanwhile, Adrian Peterson is losing sponsor after sponsor, while the NFL and the Vikings are being threatened with the same.

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