Coaches, players and athletic directors for Boston’s Beanpot schools joined forces with community leaders on Monday at the State House to make a public declaration of their commitment to end violence against women.
The event – coordinated by Jane Doe Inc., the Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence – was part of the fifth annual Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Campaign, which is designed to urge men to speak out against gender-based violence. The international White Ribbon Campaign was created in 1991 on the second anniversary of one man’s murder of more than a dozen women in Montreal.
Northeastern men’s hockey head coach Jim Madigan, captain Mike McLaughlin and Athletic Director Peter Roby joined their counterparts at Harvard University, Boston University and Boston College in taking the White Ribbon Day Pledge, which reads, in part, “From this day forward, I promise to be part of the solution in ending violence against women. I will promote respect, dignity and equality.”
Beanpot Tournament chair Steve Nazro, Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray, chair of the Governor’s Council to Address Sexual and Domestic Violence, and Massachusetts district attorneys Gerry Leone and Daniel F. Conley, who teamed up to educate the Northeastern men’s hockey team on gender-based violence prevention, also took the pledge.
“We are always encouraged to have more and more men stand up against violence, and we’re thrilled Boston’s Beanpot schools are partnering together to help spread this important message in Boston and across the Commonwealth,” Murray said.
Roby, who emceed the event, praised Beanpot coaches and student-athletes for putting their on-ice rivalries aside to unite in favor of becoming spokesmen for the campaign. “No matter how committed these men are to their teams, they put all of that aside to come together on behalf of something much bigger than hockey,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter how tough you think you are on the ice, on the court or on the field,” Roby added. “There is never an excuse for a man to hit a woman.”
The prestige of Boston’s student-athletes makes them ideal ambassadors for the campaign’s message of “safety, equality and respect in every relationship,” Conley noted. As he put it, “If our goal is to end violence against women, then we have to start with men and boys.”
McLaughlin agreed. “Student-athletes, especially ones who are fortunate enough to play on a stage like the Beanpot, are very visible whether they like it or not,” he said. “It is our responsibility to stand up for this cause.”