ALLEN PARK, Mich. – Since Jim Caldwell was hired in January, one of the biggest things he has preached to players, to coaches and when he has been talking publicly has been about accountability.
Everyone needs to be accountable to each other and he is accountable for everything that happens within the Detroit Lions. That includes what happens away from the team’s practice facility in suburban Detroit. So it is why he said Monday that he planned on addressing the NFL’s new domestic violence policy with his players.
His message, from what one player said, was pretty simple: Don’t do it.
“I agree with it. Just looking at it from a player’s standpoint, some might feel like it’s harsh but we’re part of society. If you are on a regular job and those things happen to you, you’d probably get let go from your job as well,” cornerback Rashean Mathis said. “I don’t like to separate us. Other than kids considering us role models, we’re still part of society.
“For a man to, especially when it comes to a woman, the battery charges and domestic violence when it comes to women, we’re grown men. Physical specimens. We definitely shouldn’t, it should never get to the point where you should put your hand on a woman regardless of how serious the situation is. You should always be man enough to walk away from it.”
This was the crux of Caldwell’s message to the Lions. There is nothing that should happen that should allow anything to escalate to domestic violence.
The league and commissioner Roger Goodell recently changed the policy to up to a six-game suspension for a first time offense and a potential lifetime ban -- with the possibility to apply for reinstatement after a year -- for a second offense. There are nuances to the new policy as well, depending on the particular case. Caldwell said Monday he was in favor of the new rules.
“The league sent out some stuff as far as what the repercussions would be and things of that nature but it kind of goes without saying. He feels that way. We all feel that way, that it is obviously something that is illegal. It’s not correct to do,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “It’s something that the league is taking a stance on and an appropriate one at that. We are all in agreeance with him, no question about it. It was something he wanted to make sure he brought to light and touched on as a team.”
The Lions have long been a strong supporter of HAVEN, a center for domestic violence treatment and prevention in Oakland County, Michigan, and have held the Courage House Dinner for 20 years with proceeds going to HAVEN.
Prior to the 2013 dinner, the Lions had raised almost $1.9 million for the organization throughout the years.
“We have to be accountable in all areas,” Mathis said. “I don’t agree with everything Goodell has done, by far, but this is definitely one of the positive sides to things. This is making people be responsible.”