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Enlisting Coaches In The Effort To Prevent Domestic Violence

Lisa Miller

Coaches can have a big impact on kids on and off the field.  With that in mind, a group working to prevent domestic violence gathered together a couple hundred coaches in Charlotte Thursday. They discussed how to grow players into respectful, young men.  

The group A Call To Men knows how to get coaches to listen up.  Call in Carolina Panthers Coach Ron Rivera.

“When I started here, the very first thing I put up on my first PowerPoint: be a man,” Rivera told the coaches.      

What he says he meant by that was: be accountable, be responsible, do things the right way, and treat people with respect, both men and women.  Instilling that idea of manhood is a big force in preventing domestic violence, say the men behind this conference Tony Porter and Ted Bunch. 

One high school baseball coach asked Rivera about handling players with a lot of talent, but not a lot of character. 

“Biggest thing I’ve tried to do is deal with them one-on-one, man-to-man individually first and try to get to know them,” Rivera answered. 

Donnie Kiefer coaches Central Cabarrus High School’s football team.  He attended the conference.  He says he’s used to hearing coaches talk a lot about respect, but he says they don’t always lead by example.

“My thing is if you’re in practice and you’re letting kids cuss and you’re cussing and you’re berating them and you’re humiliating them and that kind of thing…what are you teaching them? You’re teaching them it’s okay,” says Kiefer. 

“Well, they’re going to carry that outside the football field.  They’re going to carry that into every aspect of their lives.” 

A Call to Men plans to hold conferences like this in Baltimore and Seattle this year. 

Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.