Coach Bruce Pearl: Domestic violence ‘just not an option’
By J.J. Kindred | (email@example.com)
When former University of Tennessee men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl was asked why he wanted to get involved in Domestic Violence Awareness Month, he simply reiterated the theme for the entire cause.
Real men don’t hit.
Pearl was one of many coaches who participated in radio public service segments for WMYL-FM (Merle FM), which is partnering with Maryville’s Haven House to promote domestic violence awareness in October.
He told The Daily Times that as a father, it would disturb him if his daughters were placed in a violent situation.
“I know that life can be hard, and there are a lot of challenges out there and there can be great frustration, but domestic violence is just not an option,” Pearl said. “It’s not an answer. The people that are in positions of leadership in the community have got to make certain that people in the community know that it’s not an option and will not be tolerated.”
Pearl, who currently is vice president of marketing for the H.T. Hackney Co. and is scheduled to be an analyst for ESPN during college basketball season, said he tried to instill positive values in his players and teach them about respecting others when he was coaching.
“We talked about it,” he said. “My guys, where we’re talking about offenses or defenses, the next opponent, academics, the way they treat women or using drugs or alcohol, they understand that it’s really important to bring these things out in the open.
“Sometimes when it comes to coaches making decisions on who’s going to play, sometimes it’s all equal,” Pearl continued. “What’s the difference in the role of leadership on the team? It’s the stuff you’re doing off the court. Taking care of business in classroom. Being responsible in their personal life, including how they treat women. That’s a factor in how they play or how much they’re going to play. It sends a message that it matters.”
Pearl said he has been blessed to have not had domestic violence in his own family.
“I have been a witness through my players and through other family relationships, where domestic violence was present,” he said. “I see the scars that are there forever, and how it absolutely changes the personalities, the perceptions, insecurities and fears of people once they move forward from domestic violence.”