Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dallas' Best Receiver

No, not the mouth with the short arms in big games. I’m talking about Jason Whitten, the subject of this great article on his work against domestic violence. Some pro athletes really are worth some admiration.

Jason Witten leads NFL tight ends with 88 receptions for 1,068 yards. He earned his fourth NFC Pro Bowl nod in five seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.

But the 6-5, 266-pounder stands out beyond his bullish run blocking, sure-handed receiving and seven touchdowns.

Voted Cowboys Man of the Year by teammates, in part for helping families victimized by domestic violence, Witten, 25, fights what he couldn't 13 years ago.

Witten, his two brothers and their mother, Kim, were among those scarred by such abuse.
"My mom experienced domestic violence firsthand," Witten says. "My two brothers and I saw a lot.
This month, the couple unveiled The Jason Witten S.C.O.R.E. Foundation. A Christmas party aided 30 families from a Dallas shelter for domestic violence victims and their children.

"The foundation my wife and I established doesn't just benefit women. As parents, it's a way we can impact affected young children," he says. "Domestic violence is a problem across our country.

"Young people involved in shootings are growing at a rapid pace. We saw it with Sean Taylor's shooting."

His foundation will focus on educational assistance and mentoring programs to aid in recovery and in breaking the cycle of violence for families and individuals from broken homes victimized by abuse.

"Being a role model and athlete, you want to teach kids violence is not the way you respond," Witten says. "There's a lot more you can do as a player to have an impact than just with your play."

"I was 12, old enough to know what was going on. But that was the worst because you knew, but nobody explained what was happening. It was tough. It took a long time for my mom to recover."

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