- Associated Press - Sunday, February 1, 2015

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A group of athletes from Dakota Wesleyan University is challenging all the other male athletes in the Great Plains Athletic Conference to take a public stand against domestic violence.

The Sioux City Journal reports (https://bit.ly/1zqIHv0 ) that the pledge idea began with Luke Bamberg and four classmates studying social justice. They asked Dakota Wesleyan athletes to take the pledge that asks athletes to use their influence to prevent others from employing violence in their relationships.

Bamberg said his class had to come up with an advocacy project.

“We had to raise awareness with a problem in the world today,” said Bamberg, who is from Corsica, South Dakota. “In the wake of what’s happened with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson, we decided to do something on the awareness of domestic violence.”

Both Rice and Peterson were disciplined by the NFL last fall after they were involved in high-profile domestic abuse cases.

The pledge idea took off once Great Plains Athletic Conference Commissioner Corey Westra heard about it.

“We talked about it before a Dakota Wesleyan game at Mt. Marty College,” Westra said. “I said, ‘Why limit it? Let’s do this for all our male sports.’”

So now the group is challenging the more than 2,500 male athletes at the conference’s 11 universities in South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa.

Bamberg acknowledges that signing a pledge may not make a huge difference, but he said it’s better than doing nothing.

Westra said student-athletes can make a difference because they are looked up to on campus.

“These are the right people to step up and say, ‘No more,’” he said.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, https://www.siouxcityjournal.com


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