MLB, White House team up to fight date violence
Torre, Longoria and Rollins join President Obama and VP Biden in PSA
WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden is a Phillies fan. But, he said, Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins is kind of wearing him out.
"He's a hell of a ballplayer, but I'm getting tired of Jimmy Rollins," Biden said Thursday, during a speech in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House. "My wife is a fanatic Phillies fan. And every night when I lean over and kiss Jill good night, I look right into a Jimmy Rollins bobblehead. Now, that's more than any man should have to take."
However, the vice president was glad to be standing beside Rollins and Tampa Bay pitcher David Price as they unveiled a new public-service announcement launching the "1 is 2 Many" initiative about dating violence, in which star athletes such as Rollins, two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning and soccer's David Beckham speak out to change the attitudes that lead to violence and educate the public on the realities of abuse.
The PSA also features President Obama; Joe Torre, Major League Baseball's executive vice president of baseball operations; and Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin.
Dating violence is a topic close to the vice president's heart -- as a senator, Biden introduced several pieces of legislation designed to help fight violence against women.
"My dad was a gentle and noble man," Biden said. "He always said the cardinal sin of all sins was a man raising his hand to a woman or a child. These guys are going to help young men learn that lesson. When it comes to abuse, there's nothing manly about it. It is never OK. When you strike a women, you are not a man -- you're a coward."
Rollins, who filmed his part at Citizens Bank Park before a recent Phillies game, has made the prevention of child abuse a focus of the Jimmy Rollins Foundation, but plainly has an interest in this cause as well.
"When I was asked to be part of this, I said yes right away," Rollins said. "No woman should have to fear abuse. Now that I'm a father [Rollins' daughter, Camryn Drew, was born last month], I want to help make sure my daughter grows up in a world free of abuse."
Despite the serious topic at hand, Rollins, Price and Biden plainly enjoyed each other's company and had time for some levity Thursday. Rollins called Biden "Mr. Veep," and "My man, Mr. Vice President Biden." Price, stepping in for teammate Evan Longoria, who is featured in the PSA, also joked about sharing the stage with Rollins, saying: "I may not always stand with the Phillies and Jimmy Rollins, especially since they beat us in the 2008 World Series, but I'm happy to stand together for this cause."
Rollins brought has family, and got some parenting advice on raising his daughter from Biden, who told Rollins: "Surrender now. Don't pretend you're in charge. Just surrender."
In the PSA, Obama, Biden, the ballplayers and other athletes deliver the message that dating violence is unacceptable. Despite the significant progress made in reducing violence against women, young women continue to face the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault. In the past year, one in 10 teens reported being physically hurt on purpose by a boyfriend or girlfriend. One in five young women has been sexually assaulted while in college.
In response to these alarming statistics, Biden launched the "1 is 2 Many" campaign last year. The campaign focuses on reducing violence against women, especially teens and young women ages 16-24.
Kevin Roberts is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.