This week the subject of professional athletes and domestic violence has led to a national dialogue, of sorts, on the issue.
Last week, powerhouse attorney and CYInterview regular Gloria Allred [see here] held a press conference with Floyd Mayweather’s ex-fiancée Shantel Jackson. Ms. Jackson claims domestic abuse, among other things, in a lawsuit she filed against the famous boxer.
In the last few days, the video which is reported to show former Baltimore Raven running back Ray Rice punching his girlfriend, now wife, Janay Palmer made its way onto the Internet and has become a story driving the media cycle. The video led to Mr. Rice being let go by the Baltimore Ravens. Many believe his football playing days are finished.
Attorney Allred is arguably America’s most prominent women’s rights attorney, in addition to being a champion of many individuals who find themselves underdogs in need of legal representation.
With domestic violence and professional sports being on the media’s front burner, Gloria joins us to talk about representing Mr. Mayweather’s ex-fiancée Shantel Jackson and shares highlights from their press conference last week. She also provides advice for Ray Rice’s wife Janay Palmer and gives her thoughts on the NFL, and professional sports in general, when it comes to the subject of domestic violence.
Additionally, we discussed a variety of other things attorney Allred has been up to lately. You can read the highlights and listen to the entire 20 minute CYInterview below:
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Speaking about representing Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s ex- fiancée Shantel Jackson, Ms. Allred told us this:
“At one point, she and Mr. Mayweather became engaged and she even stood by him through a criminal proceeding, which resulted in the imposition of a three month jail term on him for domestic violence against another woman. And she visited him during his incarceration. So our lawsuit alleges that shortly after his release from jail in August of 2012 that he and Shantel had an argument and the lawsuit further alleges that during the argument he assaulted her. Approximately one week later, he asked Ms. Jackson for her forgiveness and he promised that he would never assault her again. … We don’t think that any woman should be forced to suffer this extremely abusive, outrageous and harmful conduct from which he inflicted on Shantel.”
Giving her thoughts on Mr. Mayweather’s alleged actions towards her client, Gloria shared this:
“The fact that Mr. Mayweather Jr. is rich and famous and I think reported to be the richest athlete in the world, the highest paid anyway, the fact that he’s rich and famous and powerful and has fans worldwide it just doesn’t entitle him to abuse the woman who he said he loved and who loved him and he has no right to invade her privacy. He has no right to reveal private medical facts to the world such as that she was pregnant with twins and make public statements to the world about why he believed the pregnancy ended. We don’t think any man rich or poor has the right to assault women, to take the property, to invade their privacy, to threaten them, to carry out their threats, to hurt them and humiliate them and defame them.
And Mr. Mayweather Jr., he may make his living inflicting pain on others in the boxing ring, but he has no right to force Shantel to endure the pain that he inflicted on her outside of the boxing ring. And she had a right to resist his efforts to control her, she had a right to end her relationship with him without being threatened and humiliated and retaliated against and harmed. So we’re gonna seek to hold him legally accountable in a court of law for his many acts of misconduct targeted at her and we expect to prevail.”
Weighing in on the situation regarding former NFL player Ray Rice punching his wife Janay Palmer in an elevator video, she said this:
“I am happy that Ray Rice was terminated by the NFL and the NFL has a new policy. But of course the NFL’s taken a lot of criticism. I think it’s well deserved for only getting a two game suspension in the first place. … I think they did the right thing. But I think, you know, people who have fans have to speak out, public has to speak out and say, ‘You know what? Something matters more than the game and violence against women is a very, very important issue and there has to be consequences for perpetrators of that violence.’”
Attorney Allred agrees that the video being leaked on the Internet forced the NFL to take action and they tried to save face:
“I think there was nothing they could say that would have, you know, quelled the furor that arose today when that, when that was shown, that video of what happened inside the elevator. But, you know, one would think that they wouldn’t have to see that in order to have more than a two game suspension for him. Because what was seen outside the elevator, the fact that he was criminally prosecuted, the fact that, he I think, he entered a no contest plea or he entered a plea, that should have been sufficient. I don’t think he should have only suffered a two game suspension. But today they were embarrassed obviously and you know, the old a picture’s worth 1000 words, well there were no words they could say that would have been sufficient. Ray Rice just had to go. … With power comes responsibility and I do think that the NFL needs to set the right example and the players should know they have a code of conduct. … They better set a good example and if they can’t set a good example in their personal life, not willing to do it, then they deserve whatever consequences follow as far as I’m concerned as long as it’s legal and peaceful.”
The wife of Ray Race, Janay Palmer issued a statement in defense of her husband. Gloria has some thoughts and advice for her:
“She’s a battered woman clearly. … I think what she need is, I think she’s got a child by him, so that complicates things. She obviously needs support, needs counseling, needs to have, you know, understand what her options are. She may have more power in the relationship than she realizes, that she doesn’t realize it maybe because I don’t know if she’s been to an attorney to advise her what her rights are. … I don’t care what she said to him. There should not have been, he had no right to punch her out. So yeah, she needs counseling, she needs support, she has to be very careful not to be isolated. She’s very vulnerable.”
As someone who has also been part of the legal vanguard for the LGBT community, Ms. Allred recently officiated a gay wedding of a friend. She shares her story:
“I was contacted by a pal of mine named Dan McFadden and Dan drives me every year and produces my car in the Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade in Los Angeles in West Hollywood every year. And he was marrying his beloved Charles and he asked if I would marry them. And I, you know, in 2004 we were the first in California to challenge the ban on same gender marriage and we fought for six years on that issue, won the right for our clients Robin and Diane to marry and for thousands of other couples to marry. Anyway, I accepted and I did marry them and there is a picture on advocate.com that anybody can Google and find of performing the ceremony. And I loved it. It was very moving. Both their moms were there. Their family and friends were there. And it was very special and I was honored to do it.”
Finally, regarding another important case she is working on, Gloria tells us she filed a lawsuit on behalf of a man who worked for the nationwide pizza chain Little Caesars. Ms. Allred says the company has denied her client’s husband health insurance because he is married to another man:
“We also have an important case we filed recently, which is very important for gay and lesbian rights that I filed a lawsuit on behalf of Frank Bernard who went to work for Little Caesars Enterprises, which is, they have, you know, their franchises nationwide and I think in some places around the world as well. And he was told after 90 days he could get health insurance for his spouse. I don’t know if they knew or realized at that time that his spouse was also a man because they’re two gay men who were married. And in an event, ultimately when he didn’t get his health insurance card for his husband, he inquired within the company and basically got the run around a lot.
But ultimately he got a letter and I have the letter in black and white where they say they fully provide health insurance to legally married couples or common law couples of the opposite sex. So there it is. They will not provide health insurance to the spouse of an employee if it’s a same sex couple. So we sued them and this is a very important issue and we’re gonna fight hard on this one unless it resolves, you know, without a trial.”
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