#SportBits … Dear Football Hall of Fame: Character Counts


Dear Hall of Fame Selection Committee,

I was saddened to learn of your recent decision to include former NFL Safety and convicted rapist Darren Sharper on your list of nominees for the 2017 Pro Football Hall of Fame class…

I understand he was on the list last year as well, but thankfully did not make the cut. I am writing today to inquire as to why you continue to consider Darren Sharper for your prestigious club?

I accept that Sharper, a defensive back who spent 14 seasons with the Packers, Vikings and Saints had impressive numbers on the field. He was voted All-Pro six times and played in five Pro Bowls and two Super Bowls, but it’s his numbers off the field that speak volumes to his character.

Eighteen is the number of years that a New Orleans federal judge sentenced Sharper to prison last month.  Sixteen is the number of women the judge said he drugged and raped. Four is the number of states in which he spread his violence against women.

If your mission is to “Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE,” and your values supposedly include integrity, courage and respect, can you please explain to me how the drugging and raping of women fit into that?

I realize the HOF has no character clause in their by-laws. I respectfully request that you consider amending those by-laws. At a time when the NFL is continuously being criticized for its soft stance on players and personnel who assault and rape women, the presence of Sharpe on the preliminary list of nominees is embarrassing and shows a complete and total lack of respect by the league for rape victims.

Football fans already have to accept that OJ Simpson and Lawrence Taylor are HOF members. Who is next – Rae Carruth – the Panthers receiver who was convicted of hiring a hit man to kill his girlfriend while she was pregnant with his child?

Yes, it is unlikely that voters will allow Sharper into the HOF, but the fact that you keep allowing his name to make the list of nominees for the league’s highest honor is wrong. I am a huge football fan. I couldn’t be happier that after 20 years football has returned to my city, Los Angeles, but my excitement and joy for the game and the respect I have for the Hall of Fame have been diminished by the lack of sensitivity that surrounds the sport.

Please feel free to contact me on social media if you would like to continue this conversation. I’m game. Thank you for your time.  #charactercounts


Mary Coyne

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