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Former Quarterback Addresses Violence and Gender Issues

KEENE, N.H. 2/6/02 In these supposedly enlightened times, women are still the targets of mens stereotypical attitudes that can often lead to violence, says Don McPherson, associate director of the anti-violence program Athletes Helping Athletes. McPherson, a former professional and collegiate football player, will speak about gender-based violence at Keene State College on Wednesday, March 6.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, about 90 percent of all violence is perpetrated by men. In his presentation, You Throw Like a Girl, McPherson will address the role that traditional ideas of masculinity and sport, such as being tough, hard, or one of the boys, have in fostering violence by men against women. One way of addressing this kind of violence, explains McPherson, is to reposition mens violence against women as a mens issue.

A major part of the problem, McPherson says, lies with mens behavior in general towards women. In subtle and overt ways, explains McPherson, men use sexist language without understanding the consequences of this language. Sexist messages and jokes, explains McPherson, can create the attitudes and behavior that cause some men to be violent towards women. McPherson emphasizes that because violence is a predominantly male behavior, it is men who should be proactive in working to find an end to this problem.

A graduate of Syracuse University, McPherson played quarterback and compiled 22 school records between 1983 and 1987. In 1987, he was awarded the Maxwell Award as the nation’s top collegiate player. In a professional career lasting seven years, McPherson played for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Houston Oilers, and two Canadian teams.

McPherson has been involved with sports-based leadership programs since 1988. He was national director of the Mentors for Violence Prevention Program and in 1999 became associate director of Athletes Helping Athletes. AHA is based at Adelphi University in Garden City, N.Y., where McPherson also teaches Leadership Development and Sport and Civility.

The presentation, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. in the Mabel Brown Room of the Student Center.

For more information, contact Mona Anderson, counselor in the Student Counseling Center, at 603-358-2435; or Don McPherson at 516-505-0344 (home) or 516-429-0339 (cell).

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