Wellesley football raises awareness for domestic violence

T.J. Noonan flicked on the television Wednesday night, saw the reports of Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer’s domestic violence arrest –- the latest in a string of such arrests, another black eye in one of the NFL’s worst weeks ever –- and decided he’d had enough.

“It’s something I feel really passionate about, because it directly affected my life,” the Wellesley High senior football captain said.

Thursday morning, Noonan approached head football coach Jesse Davis about doing something for the next night’s game against Newton North to raise awareness on the issue. With next month being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, purple its color of choice, and seeing the runaway success of the previous weekend’s “Red Bandana Game” at Boston College, Noonan settled on purple bandanas.

Davis instructed him that this would have to be put on by the entire team, or nothing at all. By Thursday afternoon, 60 bandanas had been dropped off for the team. The result was this:

And boy did the movement catch on. Friday, 100 bandanas were sold during school. Students, teachers and parents came out to the game in an assortment of purple gear -– beads, hats, scarves, and ribbons.

“There’s actually no purple bandanas left in Natick, Wellesley or Framingham, so don’t bother trying,” he laughed.

In all, $280 was raised, which the school’s business club then donated to Mary’s House, a family shelter in Waltham.

“It was great for our team to see what kind of impact a football team, or a sports team, can have on an entire town,” Noonan said. “It was awesome seeing people come up and say, ‘I’ve got my purple’, or teachers wear purple ribbons, every football player wearing their bandana the exact same way. It was awesome.”

So while the Raiders came out on the losing end, a 28-23 decision to the surprising Tigers, the night was still a success in more ways than one.

“It’s had an impact on my life, so seeing all this stuff happen made me want to make an impact. If we can raise awareness and help one person’s life, then it’s worth it,” Noonan said.