Brandon Marshall, the Chicago Bears wide receiver who turned his life around and has become a prominent advocate against domestic violence, cautioned against a public rush to judgment Thursday in domestic abuse cases involving stars Ray Rice, Greg Hardy, Jonathan Dwyer and Adrian Peterson. Invoking his own checkered background, Marshall argued that "there are two sides to every story" and that domestic violence is a broad societal problem for which the National Football League can't be held responsible.
In a news conference at the Bears' headquarters, Marshall emotionally recalled his three arrests several years ago on domestic violence-related charges, saying such cases are "terrible, and there should be consequences." But "we have to let process play itself out," he said. "We have to gather the facts before we go play judge and jury." Marshall was never convicted, but he served a suspension in 2008 for personal conduct violations. Celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred revived Marshall's history this week to accuse Commissioner Roger Goodell of not having done enough to counter domestic violence in the NFL.
Marshall — who disclosed in 2011 that he had been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and now runs a foundation dedicated to countering the stigma of mental illness — said that "because of my story and my experience," he was convinced that domestic violence is fostered early in people's childhoods, and "we're kidding ourselves if we think it's the NFL's job to take boys in college and raise them at 21." Where the NFL can help, he said, is to use the current cases "to really raise awareness of these issues," adding: "It's serious. There are a lot of alarming things. [But] it's not an epidemic in NFL. It's an epidemic in our world."
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— M. Alex Johnson