No Evidence of Increased Domestic Violence

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Patton, The Times-Union

Among urban legends surrounding the Super Bowl, the most serious is the claim that domestic violence reports increase dramatically on Super Bowl Sunday.

Although it was widely reported in 1993 that studies had found as much as a 40 percent increase in domestic violence incidents on Super Bowl Sunday, those reports were later discredited.

"We have looked at it and tried to track it, and we have not found any evidence that increases in domestic violence are associated with the Super Bowl," said Ellen Siler, chief executive officer of Hubbard House, the Jacksonville shelter for battered women.

Hubbard House is holding a fund-raising luncheon Friday, Feb. 4, Siler noted. Legendary NFL broadcaster Pat Summerall will be honored, and two Super Bowl tickets will be auctioned.

"We would not be doing an event in association with the Super Bowl if we thought there was a direct connection with domestic violence," she said.

The urban legend stems from a series of news releases, news conferences and reports in 1993, shortly before Super Bowl XXVII between the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills in Pasadena, Calif.

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting asked NBC to run a public service announcement during the 1993 Super Bowl broadcast. NBC complied, running a 30-second spot that said "Domestic violence is a crime."

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting sent out a news release saying the day of the Super Bowl was "one of the worst days of the year for violence against women in the home. …