WHO'S SORRY NOW?

An event that attracts record numbers of calls to battered women's shelters every year.

In the years since the News story finally hit the streets--the ever insightful Johnson compares its devastating effect to being caught by a TV crew while "you're picking your nose, with your index finger buried in your right nostril all the way to the third knuckle"--domestic violence has been the focus of increased attention from the legal community and media alike. And not surprisingly, it's also attracted the scrutiny of those who would debunk battering's connection to sporting events, citing the lack of hard statistics.

But at Denver's Safehouse for Battered Women, the receptionists will tell you that Mother's Day and Super Bowl Sunday are their busiest days of the year. The new, improved, apologetic Vance Johnson volunteered to speak on behalf of the shelter; Safehouse declined the invitation.

Servicios de la Raza's domestic-violence unit has noticed the same phenomenon--increased calls around football games, soccer matches. "Our crisis line demonstrates that," says Nita Gonzales. "We never came up with a rational reason for it--but then, domestic violence isn't rational."

No matter how sorry the perpetrators may be.
Gonzales has a copy of Johnson's book, but says she can't finish it.
Here's what she's missing: Another apology, and then an appendix that lists The Vance's NFL statistics and his "toys"--most of the cars and boats Johnson's owned, although "I bought so many cars during my career that I simply can't recall all of them." But then, in a recent interview, Johnson couldn't recall the names of two of his children, either.

The Vance is hardly a sell-out. Space at local battered women's shelters, however, remains standing room only.

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