Young athletes learn not to follow in the footsteps of some NFL 'role models'

On Monday, the NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice indefinitely after video surfaced showing him punch his then-fiance in the face and knock her out cold.

In response to the ongoing domestic violence problem in the NFL, some coaches said they're trying to teach young players not to follow in the footsteps of some of their sports role models.

"Most high school kids who start playing football have the vision and dream to play in the National Football League," said J. T. Curtis, head football coach at John Curtis Christian School in River Ridge.

No matter how emotional it gets on the grid iron, Curtis said he makes sure players learn the best way to treat each other and control themselves. However, it can be an uphill battle when some of their role models in the NFL choose violence.

"The reality begins to set in after a period of time that they're not that talented, but they still admire these guys and look up to them," said Curtis. "So, when you're not the kind of role model that's going to show moral, spiritual and ethical behavior, it tells them that it's ok at 15, 16, 17 and 18."

Rebecca Rainy of the Metropolitan Center for Women and Children said the video, captured in February in the elevator of an Atlantic City Casino, showed an extremely violent blow. She said what happened after that sent a message of no remorse.

"There wasn't any bending down, is she ok. It was almost like she was an inconvenience to him in the elevator because he had to pick her up and drag her out - which he didn't even make it half way out the elevator and then walked away from her," said Rainy.

The act is one of many reported in the last few years.

For example in August, just days after the NFL announced the league punishment for domestic transgressions had been elevated from a minimum two game suspension to a minimum of six, San Francisco Defensive Lineman Ray McDonald was arrested on domestic violence charges after allegedly attacking his pregnant fiance at a birthday party.

In December of 2012, Jovan Belcher of the Kansas City Chiefs killed his 22 year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, at their home. He then turned the gun on himself, leaving behind their then three-month old daughter.

As NFL leaders attempt to address the violence, coaches like J.T. Curtis make sure kids know the best players take care of their family as well as their team.

"The guys that I'm around, they're doing this job because they believe in young people and they want to see young people continue to be better men. That's going to make us a better community and eventually a better country," said Curtis.

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