Bengals say they're joining Women Helping Women's fight against domestic violence and sexual assault

Announcement follows drafting of Joe Mixon

CINCINNATI –  The Bengals say they’re teaming up with Women Helping Women in that group’s fight against domestic violence and sexual assault.

Bengals officials met with Women Helping Women leadership Monday, the club said in a statement. That was two days after the team picked Joe Mixon in the second round of the NFL Draft. Mixon punched a woman in the face three years ago.

“We applaud Women Helping Women for the work they do,” the Bengals’ statement said. “The Bengals and Women Helping Women leadership met on Monday and we look forward to continuing our conversation as we look for ways to work together. We recognize the Bengals hold a special place in the community and we are committed to being good corporate citizens.”

The Bengals' selection of Mixon, a running back from the University of Oklahoma, raised a protest from the WCPO editorial board and some fans.

In a statement, the president and CEO of Women Helping Women, Kristin Smith Shrimplin, addressed the selection of Mixon and called on the Bengals to stand with them against gender-based violence and in support of survivors.

The statement said, in part:

“We expect businesses in our great city, and this includes sports teams, to place a high value on speaking out against both domestic violence and sexual assault.  Athletes are recruited and hired for their skills and talent both on and off the field. We need our beloved home teams to hire positive role models and champions for our community-and this means that champions do not commit violence against women.

“Women Helping Women encourages the Brown family, Marvin Lewis and all others in the Cincinnati Bengals administration, as well as all influential leaders in our great city to use their power to shape a winning culture, both on and off the field. We expect that franchises and leaders with such power to represent our city and to encourage a culture that reflects our Cincinnati values. 

“The Bengals have an opportunity to send a message to their fans. There is an opportunity to teach our children about character-building, team work, and respect-both on and off the field. There is an opportunity to message to young athletes at our high schools and on college campuses what we expect in a champion. We expect players to lead by example.”

Women Helping  Women says it serves nearly 7,000 survivors a year in Hamilton, Butler, Brown and Adams counties. For more information, visit www.womenhelpingwomen.org

RELATED: Drafting Joe Mixon may serve as a lesson to all of us.

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