Sanctuary for the Abused

Monday, February 02, 2015

The Super Bowl & Domestic Violence

Jeanette Norman - BellaOnline's Domestic Violence Editor

Are there more reports of domestic violence during Super Bowl season? Do men really get that angry and violent during a sporting event that would cause them to cause harm to their wife/girlfriends and their children?

Some people say this is a myth, some people will tell you it is the truth. If you check out the Urban Legends section of, the author of an article about this claims that there are more reports of domestic violence on Super Bowl Sunday is false. According to the article, Ken Ringle, a reporter for the Washington Post contacted a professor who participated in a study based on the claims of the increase in domestic violence. The professor informed Ringle that the report published based on the study was entirely true.

It is believed that this myth was perpetuated when in 1993 a women’s group asked the NFL to run a public service announcement about domestic violence aimed towards men. So many people must have assumed that domestic violence was a problem particularly during this sporting event because of the unusual nature of this type of commercial during a sporting event.

Many resources that I read while researching for this article state that there has never been a solid study to confirm this statement. With privacy issues for women and children that are in or have been in shelters, it would be a hard study to conduct. However, there have also been numerous newspaper articles, interviews, and other published materials supporting the statement of domestic violence rises during super bowl season. The social workers I personally speak to on a regular basis have said that this statement seems to be true. There is tension still lingering from the holiday season on top of the excitement of “the big game.” 

The reports and journalist who decided to prove this claim wrong were mostly males, which may have played a role in some people changing their minds that there is no connection. Rush Limbaugh also had to put his two cents in by saying on his then TV show that the ad during the 1993 Super Bowl was “just a bunch of feminist bilge". He also continued to say the man dressed in a suit in the ad could not be a real abuser: "Like people who beat their wives wear ties.” Needless to say, his comments rubbed me the wrong way when I read them and further confirmed why I do not like that man.


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