Phillies' Rollins visits White House

Vice President Joe Biden, Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies, center, and David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays, discuss a new public service announcement, Thursday, June 21, 2012, during a news conference at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington. The PSA features President Barack Obama, Vice President Biden, professional athletes and role models who deliver the message that dating violence is unacceptable. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
Vice President Joe Biden, Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies, center, and David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays, discuss a new public service announcement, Thursday, June 21, 2012, during a news conference at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington. The PSA features President Barack Obama, Vice President Biden, professional athletes and role models who deliver the message that dating violence is unacceptable. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari) (AP)
Posted: June 22, 2012

WASHINGTON - There were a few lighthearted moments, but the tone was mostly serious as Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins helped Vice President Biden introduce a public service announcement concerning violence against women that will air this summer.

Included in the PSA are President Obama, Biden, Rollins, baseball's Evan Longoria and Joe Torre, basketball's Jeremy Lin, soccer's David Beckham, football's Eli Manning, and ESPN's Andy Katz delivering the message that violence against women is unacceptable.

The PSA was unveiled during a Thursday morning news conference at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House.

Rollins and Tampa Bay Rays lefthander David Price were the two athletes in attendance. Price was filling in for Longoria, who was unable to attend.

After Price said a few words, Rollins, dressed in a gray suit, was eloquent in his message.

"I want my daughter and everyone's daughter to grow up in a world free of violence and abuse," Rollins said.

Rollins added that he was honored to be part of the news conference and also to be in the message.

"When I was asked to be a part of this I said yes right away," Rollins said. "I said yes because no woman should have the fear of abuse. No man should hit a woman for any reason."

It was also Rollins' job to introduce the vice president, and he did it with his customary cool.

In talking about the people in the PSA, Rollins said, "You will see in a minute I am in really great company, including, of course, my man Mr. Vice President Biden."

That drew laugher, but not as much as when Biden began speaking of Rollins.

"I was telling David [Price] he is a hell of a ballplayer, but I am getting tired of Jimmy Rollins," Biden said.

When the laughter died down, the vice president said that he is a big Phillies fan, but his wife, Jill, is a true diehard. And he said he is reminded of Rollins each and every night.

"Every night when I go to bed, I lean over to kiss her good night, and as I turn my head, I look right into a bobblehead of Jimmy Rollins," he said, evoking laughter. "That is more than a man should have to take."

Biden quickly showed how passionate he is about this cause and how grateful he was to the athletes who helped with the PSA.

Biden has long been a proponent of protecting women. While a senator from Delaware, he introduced the Violence Against Women Act in 1994.

Biden said that since the act passed, domestic violence has dropped by more than 60 percent in the United States, but he added that much more needs to be done.

"Today young women face the highest rates of dating violence," he said. "Nearly one in five college women, for example, will face sexual assault through their college career."

Biden also urged young men in college who know of any type of violence to take a stand, and not look the other way.

"Guys, these aren't just statistics, they are people you know . . . your sister, the women you are in class with, people you grow up with, somebody else's daughter," Biden said. ". . . The attitudes have changed in the last 20 years, but so much more can change. Speak up."

Biden believes that having athletes in the PSA will be effective because of all the young men who watch sports and admire them.

The message is clear, he said.

"When it comes to abuse . . . it is never OK," he said. "One woman hurt is one too many."


Contact Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225, mnarducci@phillynews.com or on Twitter @sjnard.

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