Tag Archives: domestic violence

Say it ain’t so, David

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

David Dewhurst might be in trouble. Or … he might not be.

I don’t know. What I do know is that Texas’ former lieutenant governor was arrested by Dallas cops the other day on a domestic violence accusation. I want this to end well for Dewhurst, but if it doesn’t, well …

David Dewhurst arrested on domestic violence charge in Dallas | The Texas Tribune

You see, he and I had a professional relationship that I recall with fondness. He is a Republican former politician who rose to prominence out of virtually nowhere back in the late 1990s. He had been a big-time political donor/back bencher in Houston when he ran for Texas land commissioner. He then gravitated to the lieutenant governor’s office in 2003, where he served until losing a re-election bid to Dan Patrick in 2015; Patrick is still the lieutenant governor.

David Dewhurst proved to be a formidable fellow while he served in state government. How so? He is the type of fellow who, when asked what time it is, is prone to tell you how to build a watch. He is as detail- and minutiae-oriented as any public official I’ve ever known.

I want to relate a quick story about Dewhurst that I think illustrates what a good guy — at a certain level — he can be.

My wife and I were in Austin once touring the State Capitol with my sister and her husband. We came upon a conference  room that was closed to the public. I asked a young man standing at the door what was happening inside. “Lt. Gov. Dewhurst is conducting a closed-door meeting,” he said. I cannot remember with whom. I gave the young man a business card and told him to say “hey” to Dewhurst for me. He said he would do that.

I got back to Amarillo and found a phone message from Lt. Gov. Dewhurst. He had called my office phone number and sought to find me so he could take me, my wife and our family members on a tour of his office complex in the Capitol Building. Dang! I’m still kicking myself that we didn’t hook up that day.

That’s the kind of relationship I had with him.

All that said, I hope David Dewhurst didn’t do what has been alleged.

Cruz gets fascinating Texas endorsement | High Plains Blogger

Rice got two-game suspension; Brady gets four?

Let’s see if we can sort this out for just a moment.

The National Football League suspended former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games after a video showed him punching his then-fiancée — and now his wife — in the face, knocking her out cold in an Atlantic City, N.J. elevator. It then elevated the suspension to “indefinite” status, meaning he would be unable to play pro football in the NFL probably forever.

Rice then appealed his suspension and had it overturned by a federal court. The NFL sought to send a message that it wouldn’t tolerate domestic violence.


It’s the two-game initial suspension that got everyone up in arms. It wasn’t enough, they said.

Now we have New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady getting a four-game suspension. For what? An NFL report says he probably knew something about the deflating of footballs prior to last season’s AFC championship game, which the Pats won by 38 points. There’s been no proof that he did anything wrong. Just a lot of circumstantial stuff.

He’s out four games. Without pay.

The message here? I’m betting the NFL wants to say that it won’t tolerate cheating, so they’re going to make an example of an All-Universe athlete.

But have you noticed Brady’s public demeanor during all of this? He’s looked a bit smug, as if he’s not taking this very seriously.

As my late mother used to say when she scolded me, “Wipe that smirk off your face or I’ll wipe it off for you!”

My hunch is that the NFL is seeking to wipe Brady’s smug look off his face.

Mission accomplished? I think so.


Domestic violence has scarred NASCAR

The National Football League has cracked down on athletes involved in domestic violence incidents.

Now it’s NASCAR’s turn to do the same.

The auto racing association today suspended one of its top stars, Kurt Busch, indefinitely because of allegations involving his former girlfriend.


NASCAR’s action comes on the eve of the inaugural event of the new racing season, the Daytona 500, known to racing fans as the Super Bowl of the sport.

Busch is the first NASCAR driver to be suspended. Chevrolet has ended its relationship with the driver known as The Outlaw. His case is being investigated. Busch’s lawyer vows to appeal and NASCAR says it will expedite the process.

This is a big deal in one of the country’s most lucrative sports. It speaks to the level of interest that domestic violence has gotten in the wake of the many cases involving NFL stars.

This suspension must send a message around the nation that this kind of activity cannot be tolerated at any level.

Busch has been accused of choking and beating former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll, who this morning told “Good Morning America” about the incident in which she felt her life was threatened.

Yes, Busch deserves a presumption of innocence. However, NASCAR cannot let this matter fester and boil over. Accordingly, NASCAR has acted with amazing speed on this case, perhaps taking a lesson from the NFL’s initially tepid response to the Ray Rice case in which the league suspended the star running back for two games, then rethought its light punishment and then suspended him indefinitely.

Rice was reinstated on appeal, but the case demonstrated a need to crack down on these savage acts of violence.

NASCAR has taken the hint.

'Mr. Cub' leaves the field

Ernie Banks has died and I’m feeling strangely out of sorts.

At one level, I am — of course — sad to hear the news of Mr. Cub’s death at age 83. He might have been Major League Baseball’s premier ambassador, although St. Louis Cardinals fans have made the case for their icon, the late Stan “The Man” Musial.

But at another level, I am somewhat chastened by the notion that I never really took the opportunity to cheer for Mr. Cub. I grew up in the 1950s and ’60s and much of my baseball attention was gobbled up by some other pretty good athletes. Guys like Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Stan the Man and Roberto Clemente all commanded much of my attention. You had the occasional flash in the pan, such as Roger Maris, also getting attention.


Ernie Banks? All he did was belt 512 home runs in his 19-year career with the Chicago Cubs while playing shortstop and then first base.

Mr. Cub had the misfortune of never playing in the postseason. No World Series. No playoffs to get to the Big Show. Nothing. Most of his teams finished with losing records. Maybe that’s why I didn’t care. Hey, I was a kid who was interested in winners, right?

None of that mattered to the Hall of Fame voters who inducted Banks into the Cooperstown, N.Y., shrine in 1977, his first year of eligibility. They knew baseball greatness when they saw it.

Little did I understand until much later that you didn’t need to play on teams that routinely scored more runs than the other team to be a winner.

Mr. Cub’s enthusiasm for the game he loved was infectious. “Let’s play two,” he said famously — and that quote will be repeated endlessly over the next few days.

Pro sports has suffered a bit of an image problem of late. Baseball’s been tainted by steroid and other “performance enhancing drug” use. Pro football has been shamed by the off-the-field savagery of some of its stars against women.

Against that backdrop, now we say “goodbye” to a seriously good and decent man who, by the way, could play a pretty good game of baseball himself.



Rice can return … but where?

A judge has ruled that Ray Rice can play football again.

You remember this young man. He punched his then-fiancée in the face, knocked her cold in a New Jersey casino elevator. He then got dumped by the Baltimore Ravens and was suspended indefinitely by the National Football League.

A judge has said the former Ravens running back didn’t like to the NFL and that Commissioner Roger Goodell overstepped his discretion by suspending Rice indefinitely.


Case closed?

Not entirely. Rice is without a team. My question is, who is going to hire a guy with the kind of baggage this young man is packing around?

I wish the suspension had stuck. The NFL is trying to mend its ways regarding domestic violence. The Rice case was thought to be a textbook case of a highly paid pro athlete gone out of control. Rice is one of several who face this kind of scrutiny.

It’s embarrassed the league, Rice’s employer. And speaking of employers, don’t they have the right to insist that the people who work for them behave in a certain manner?

I guess Rice will come back, or will at least attempt to come back.

We’ll see if winning matters more than character.


Peterson earns stiff suspension

The Adrian Peterson case continues to baffle me and it continues to play havoc with how I really feel about what he allegedly did to his toddler son.

But the suspension handed down by the National Football League against the star Minnesota Vikings running back seems like the appropriate punishment.

A grand jury in Texas indicted Peterson on a felony count of child abuse after he smacked his son with a switch, which left several marks on the youngster’s limbs and torso.


The incident occurred just as the NFL was reeling from domestic violence cases, not most notable one involved former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and the infamous incident in which he cold-cocked his fiancée in a New Jersey casino elevator.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Peterson failed to show proper remorse and has not taken part in hearings. Therefore, he will sit out the rest of the season — without pay.

Peterson has said the punishment he meted out to his little boy was no different than what he received growing up in East Texas. Really?

Well, that was then. This is now. Times change. So do societal attitudes about such things — although Peterson is a young man and it wasn’t all that long ago when he was his son’s age.

Meanwhile, the NFL is trying to rehabilitate its own image by cracking down on players’ personal conduct, trying to protect people associated with these athletes from further potential abuse.

It well might be in Peterson’s best interest to swallow the medicine the NFL has forced on him. Then he can try to come back and resurrect his career.

Jeter gets monumental sendoff

Derek Jeter’s sendoff as he ends his 20-year career playing baseball for the New York Yankees has been something to behold.

Yes, he’s had a stellar career and yes, he’s been a model of decorum off the field.

The first element is worthy of praise. The second element is what has triggered the media love affair with the Yankees’ captain.


Think about this for a moment.

The public has been bombarded with an incessant downpour of bad news about high-profile athletes. Wife-beating. Child abuse. Drug abuse. Drunken driving. Carousing. Fights in bars. It’s been going on for years.

Then we have this story about Derek Jeter, a young man from Kalamazoo, Mich., who at one time thought about enrolling in the University of Michigan. Then fate came calling. The Yankees drafted him and he went to The Big Apple to play shortstop for the most storied franchise in all of sports — not just baseball.

Now as his career is drawing to a close, the media are looking back on his career with a fondness that seems as much an appreciation for the man he has become as for the skill he brought to the game.

Jeter is now being mentioned in the same breath as Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle — the Four Horsemen of Yankee greatness. I suppose Jeter’s career stats would put him in that category no matter what.

The backdrop of all this pro athlete misbehavior, though, has helped stimulate the affection of a nation that is now saying “so long” to The Captain.

Hey, Mr. Lewis: Do not speak about criminal cover-up

Ray Lewis was one heck of a football player. He’ll probably be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible.

He also managed to dodge a serious crime involving a homicide. So, when the subject of another pro athlete getting into trouble with the law, my advice to Lewis is simple: Recuse yourself from any discussion about this issue. Button it up, young man.


Lewis was speaking on ESPN about Ray Rice’s indefinite suspension from the NFL after a video surfaced showing him cold-cocking his then-fiancée. Here’s Lewis: “When you watch this video, you see that somewhere this young man, some leadership was lost. He got out there … and started doing his own thing and what happens is what’s in the dark is going to come to light.”

He might regret saying anything at all about this case. Why?

Well, in 2000 Lewis was involved in the death of two men at a Super Bowl party. He was charged initially with murder and aggravated assault when the men were stabbed to death. He testified against two other men who also were involved. The murder charges were dropped and Lewis pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of — here it comes — obstruction of justice.

Oh, brother.

So now this guy pops off about another out-of-control pro athlete doing something “in the dark” that “is going to come to light.”

Social media went crazy over this little bit of wisdom from someone formerly accused of murder.

ESPN perhaps ought to have known better than to open this discussion in Ray Lewis’s presence. As for Lewis, I believe when the subject comes up again he needs to wave his hands in the air and say, “No mas.”

'Role model' definition needs some work

There once was a time when I disagreed completely with Charles Barkley’s assertion that “I am not a role model.”

The events of the past few weeks involving some high-profile professional athletes are making me put that comment in an entirely new perspective. Role models? Probably not. Ambassadors? Yes.

The pro football players who have been caught up in cases involving domestic violence and child abuse are facing criminal charges. Barkley, to the best of my recollection, never got ensnared in criminal activity while he was playing professional basketball. He said some strange things and behaved a bit boorishly at times. He could play a great game of basketball, for which he was compensated handsomely.

The activity under scrutiny these days is quite different. It involves the law and whether highly paid professional athletes have broken certain laws that prohibit the abuse of children or committing acts of violence on another human being.

As I re-watched Barkley’s video, he said something that rings so true. The real “role models” in children’s lives are their parents. “Just because I can dunk a basketball,” Barkley said, “doesn’t mean I can raise your kids.”

I cannot pretend to know what kind of childhood the men involved in these recent cases of alleged criminal activity had. One of the pro football players, Ray Rice, apologized for hitting his then-fiancée by saying he was raised by his single mother and that his behavior wasn’t the kind of thing his mom taught him to do.

I’ll accept that.

However, what about the role that these athletes play as ambassadors for the organizations that pay them these huge sums of money? Or the communities they represent when they wear the athletic uniforms that carry the names of the teams?

The role of ambassador should mean something to these guys, their employers and the governing body — in this case the National Football League — that oversees everyone’s conduct.

Revoke NFL's 'non-profit' status

If Congress is going to get involved in anything involving the National Football League, it should be quite specific and it should deal exclusively with matters of taxation.

Take the league’s status as a “non-profit” entity, which exempts it from paying federal taxes.

Yank that status. Now.


We’ve heard some clamoring from lawmakers about the House and Senate convening hearings over the issue of domestic violence. Accordingly, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., has proposed a bill that would remove the non-profit status and dedicate revenue received toward paying for programs dealing with this tragic issue.

The hearings are a waste of time. All they would do is give senators and House members a platform to pontificate in public about their indignation over domestic violence.

Other senators, such as Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., are targeting the non-profit issue as a way to punish the league for its support of the Washington Redskins team nickname, which many Americans believe denigrates Native Americans.

Whatever the cause, the tax issue is the only way Congress should get involved in the affairs of a private enterprise.

Frankly, I’m astonished that the NFL enjoys the tax-exempt status at all. To suggest the league is a “non-profit” organization is laughable on its face.

Congress has a role to play in fixing what’s wrong with the NFL. That role, though, should focus solely on taxation.