It goes much deeper than suspensions for Steelers William Gay

Neal Coolong
SB Nation

Domestic violence is not about suspensions for fines for Steelers eight-year cornerback William Gay. It hits him on a much more personal level, writes O-R's Dale Lolley.

Steelers cornerback William Gay isn't sounding off about the NFL's two-game suspension given to Ravens running back Ray Rice.

If anyone has a reason to complain it'd be Gay - the Steelers veteran who lost his mom after an apparent murder-suicide when he was just 7-years-old. The topic enters the sanctity of the NFL too often as it is, but Gay is much more interested in educating fellow players on the topic - not just fining and suspending transgressors.

"Let’s come up with a way to help. Taking money away from somebody, games, that’s all cool. That’s within the rules," Gay told Washington Observer-Reporter's Dale Lolley in a feature piece Sunday. "The real truth behind it is the domestic partner. By just saying we’re going to penalize you, take away money and games, is that really help for the women or domestic partner?"

Rice pleaded not guilty to a domestic abuse charge he received after hotel security at an Atlantic City casino showed Rice dragging his seemingly unconscious fiance out of an elevator. His two-game suspension was met with public outcry over the relative shortness of the ban in comparison to other suspensions.

Gay's approach is not for vengeance on Rice, but rather, opening dialogue for others, should they find themselves in explosive situations such as the one Rice and his now-wife were in back in May.

"All I say is, ‘Let’s look at a situation and what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong,’" Gay told Lolley. "We know that hitting women is not the answer, even if you’re provoked. That’s not an excuse. That’s what I try to talk about. We have little discussions here in the locker room, not that somebody’s done it, but what if? We talk about it. They know how I feel about it. It hits home for me. I have more concern about it. My feelings about it are higher than other people. I just try to state facts that it’s real." It's pretty powerful sentiment, all things considered, and it's a message that's been lost in the fire and brimstone approach many have taken. It seems now more are angered over the reaction of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as opposed to the incident itself.

If Gay's experience can make him a credible witness toward other players in regards simply to making it hit home for those players, and recognize the danger of it, it would seem he's adding value from a nightmarish experience. A teammate would struggle to be around Gay having made the wrong choice, faced with a similar situation.

Perhaps his example can stem the tide.

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