Since the early 1990s, news outlets have been reporting on the spike in domestic violence that accompanies the Super Bowl each year. The increased profile of domestic violence among professional football players in recent years may have helped to fuel this story. However, it appears that the rumor that domestic violence increases surrounding the Super Bowl is just a rumor, without a basis in fact.
This year's Super Bowl 50 saw the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers, making Peyton Manning the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl. The sporting event watched across the world is also notable for its commercials. This year, NO MORE, ran an ad in its campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault. The annual event also brought out stories about the rise in violence related to game night.
Over the past few years, a number of National Football League (NFL) players were charged with domestic violence. In prior years, a DV conviction may have had no impact on a player's professional career. However, the NFL has changed their stance on domestic violence under public pressure, especially after video footage was released of Baltimore's Ray Rice knocking out his fiancee in an elevator.
Domestic violence is a serious problem across the country, and not just with professional athletes. However, there is no evidence that domestic violence spikes around seasonal sporting events like the NFL's Super Bowl. This rumor appears to have originated around the time of a press conference leading up to the 1993 Super Bowl in Pasadena, California. A coalition of women's groups reported evidence suggested that Super Bowl Sunday was the biggest day of the year for violence against women.
Sheila Kuehl, of the California Women's Law Center, pointed to a study from Old Dominion University, indicating they found that police reports of beatings were up almost 40% after Redskins victories during the 1988-89 season. However, a reporter from the Washington Post reached out to one of the study's authors, Janet Katz, who denied that finding, stating they found an increase in ER admissions was not associated with football games.
According to the website Snopes.com, which reports on urban legends and internet rumors, the myth of Super Bowl domestic violence is a “noble lie,” which may be well-intentioned to spread the word about the problem of domestic violence, but there is little to no supporting evidence of the claim.
While a majority of cases may involve a male acting violently towards a female, domestic violence does not discriminate. Domestic violence can be committed by females, and amongst same-sex couples. The crime often occurs behind closed doors, with the victims fearful of speaking out. Under California Penal Code 243(e)(1), a conviction for domestic battery can lead to a year in prison, and may preclude an individual from some types of employment in the future.
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people charged with domestic violence in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of experience, Lynn Gorelick understands how a DV conviction can affect your future, and how to fight to keep a conviction off your record. If you are facing charges of domestic battery, contact the local East Bay criminal defense attorney who understands that you do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested.