Hello Timberwolves Fans, A friend and I have collaborated to write a letter to Glen Taylor expressing our concern over the team signing, or showing interest in, players with a possible history of sexual or physical violence towards women. Please take the time to read the letter and sign the petition if you agree. As you will see, we do not deny the possibility of past mistakes and forward movement on the part of individual players but we would like to see these issues acknowledges and openly discussed to an appropriate extent. As fans and parents these issues matter to us and we know we are not alone.
Dear Glen Taylor,
We are writing you in order to express a developing concern from the perspective of a growing group of dedicated Minnesota Timberwolves/Lynx fans. In many ways, we are the demographic group of individuals that make for ideal fans of the teams, and the NBA/WNBA in general. We are ardent supporters of the teams and have been for many years (in some case, ever since you purchased the Timberwolves back in 1994). We are working professionals capable of attending games, buying NBA league pass to watch wolves’ games, and purchasing team gear. Many of us are also part of a broader Timberwolves community that regularly blogs about the team, listens to, and in some cases produces, podcasts, and discusses the team’s successes and failures via social media. Some of us are even grooming our sons and daughters to be future fans of the Timberwolves and the Lynx.
We wanted to call your attention to a troubling trend we have observed with the Timberwolves. We have noticed the presence of current players, or reported interest in acquiring players, with a reported history of physical or sexual violence against women. In our view, this has called into question the commitment to combat this widespread and important issue by the Timberwolves/Lynx organization. Research shows that it is no exaggeration to state that millions of women are physically beaten by their intimate partners every year. A study reported by the Center of Disease Control estimates that approximately 31.5 percent of women reported having been a victim of intimate partner violence at some point in their lives and 22.3 percent report being the victim of at least one severe act of violence at some point in their lives. Violence against women in this country has been, and continues to be, one of our country’s most pressing problems. Sexual violence against women is an equally pressing problem. In the past ten years, between 200,000 and 300,000 women report being victims of rape and sexual assault every year. Scientists also know that those numbers grossly underestimate the true prevalence of sexual violence as most women (between 65-80%) never even report their victimization to the police.
We also recognize that people deserve a second chance. No one should be defined by his or her most regrettable moment. We are not asking that the Timberwolves/Lynx organization use a history of domestic violence as a litmus test for whether any employee is hired. We are asking that the organization acknowledge that this is an issue worthy of addressing publicly. In order for us, as fans, to feel good about standing next to our families while we cheer on a player with these kinds of incidents in his past, we would like to see some kind of growth on the part of that player. Too many incidences of violence against woman seem to simply be ignored or swept aside and we feel that the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the NBA, are uniquely positioned to make it clear that this behavior is not acceptable – especially in the context of team sports which often come to represent the values of a given community.
Violence against women isn't a Timberwolves/Lynx problem and it isn't an NBA problem – it is a global problem, but the Timberwolves organization can be an active advocate for women to address this problem in meaningful ways. As fans, we would like to know what our favorite team is doing to show a commitment towards reducing violence against woman. What kinds of training is required of players and employees? Are there therapy and treatment options available to players who seek to learn from their past actions and grow as human beings? Is the team willing to pass on players that continue to engage in violence against women or who have shown an unwillingness to take this issue seriously, even if that player might prove useful on a basketball court?
In short, we want to support an organization that takes a clear and unambiguous stance on violence against women. Regardless of the successes and failures on the court, which are difficult to predict and elusive to achieve, we feel that being an outspoken advocate on the behalf of women, and other marginalized populations, is a goal that organizational leadership can choose to pursue or ignore. In our view, choosing to make the well-being of women an organizational priority will show us (the fans) that the Minnesota Timberwolves/Lynx are truly committed to the values that make Minnesota such a great state. We feel these organizational changes would free us to unequivocally support the Timberwolves/Lynx organization with both an emotional investment and our pocketbooks.
Thank you for taking the time to listen and go Wolves/Lynx!