The Ray Rice domestic violence story hit home with Raiders owner Mark Davis, who has strong feelings about the issue and rejects the characterization that NFL teams aren’t doing anything about it.
“The Raiders have been aware of domestic violence for more than 15 years,’’ Davis told the Bay Area News Group Friday. “In 1999, Fred Biletnikoff’s daughter _ a member of our family _ was murdered by her boyfriend, who was abusing her.’’
Tracey Biletnikoff, 20, was strangled by Mohammad Haroon Ali at a drug rehabilitation center in February of 1999. Biletnikoff, a Raiders Hall of Fame receiver, and his wife Angela started the Biletnikoff Foundation, which provides support to young women recovering from substance abuse and education for the prevention of domestic violence.
Ali was convicted of first-degree murder in Redwood City in 2001. The conviction was overturned on appeal because of problems with jury selection, but Ali was convicted a second time and sentenced to life in prison.
The Raiders, Davis said, have actively supported the Biletnikoff Foundation through their annual golf tournament as well as an annual fund raising crab feed.
The Biletnikoff Foundation also works with STAND!, which has helped more than 15,000 crisis victims and their children by offering emergency shelter, counseling, support groups and transitional housing.
Davis said he is dismayed the focus has been on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his handling of the issue instead of the problem of domestic violence itself.
“The important thing is that the focus is now on domestic violence,’’ Davis said. “Let’s work to prevent it.’’
Goodell is under fire over inconsistencies in the accounts of what he knew and when he knew it regarding Rice and the assault on his then-girlfriend and current wife Janay Rice.
“Roger Goodell has never lied to me,” Davis said. “I have no reason to believe he’s lying now.”