Dear athletic directors, coaches and mentors,
Many people inside and outside of sports culture have followed the story about the Ben Roethlisberger rape allegations and their aftermath in news reports throughout the late spring and summer. We’ve seen prosecutors decline to press charges. We’ve seen the star quarterback receive a suspension from the National Football League. We’ve seen an outpouring of commentary from pundits and fans across Steeler Nation and beyond – much of it critical of Big Ben’s behavior.
What do we take from all of this? And how does it relate to your role as coaches and mentors to the young men who will compete for you this fall?
Simply stated, this is an opportunity for coaches to talk to your student-athletes about sexual assault prevention – and the respectful treatment of women more generally. It is also an opportunity to relate what’s happened to a superstar NFL player—through his own actions—and ensure that your student-athletes understand that you expect them to act responsibly, and demonstrate good character, both on and off the field.
The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, in partnership with Jackson Katz, creator and co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program—the leading sexual and domestic violence prevention initiative in college and professional athletics—have developed a teaching tool to help coaches discuss the issues related to the Roethlisberger rape allegations.
When the players come to practice this fall, and then at opportune moments during the season, we urge you to take a few minutes to talk to your players about respectful conduct in their relations with women and other men, and some of the other issues addressed in this case. As coaches, student-athletes respect you and look to you to guide them in what is expected of them as young men.
Below, you will find two documents to assist you—a list of talking points designed to educate coaches and structure a conversation with players, and a summary of the points that can be used as a quick reference during the discussion.
Further help and resources are also available from PCAR, if requested. Please contact Adam Kulikowski at 717-728-9740 or via e-mail email@example.com.
PCAR Executive Director
Jackson Katz, Ph.D.
Co-founder, Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape * 125 North Enola Drive * Enola, PA 17025
717.728.9740 * 800.692.7445 * Fax: 717.728.9781 * TTY: 877.585.1091